I get a good chunk of screeners on a fairly regular basis. Some of them are good, a few are great and a good chunk of them are terrible. And then you get the ones that kind of get your curiosity based on something odd.
In my case it was my own internal statement after seeing the cover of One In The Chamber.
“Cuba Gooding Jr…
….AND DOLPH LUNDGREN?”
Somewhere after he won an Oscar, Cuba Gooding Jr. became a straight to video action hero. An odd path for a man who is best known for his acting chops (despite his best efforts to prove otherwise with Radio). Seriously. Beyond Jerry Maguire, Cuba also did great work in The Tuskegee Airmen, As Good As It Gets and American Gangster. Hell, I love him in a guilty pleasure of mine, Rat Race.
But yet, somewhere along the line, he ended up shooting these straight-to-video action films much like most of the cast of The Expendables.
So how does Cuba stack up with Dolph? How good or terrible is One In The Chamber?
Gooding stars as Ray Carver, an assassin who’s making a living murdering mobsters in the former Soviet Union. His latest job doesn’t go so well. Not wanting to shoot a woman (for reasons revealed later in the flick and a twist that comes off as kind of creepy by the end of the film), a target escapes, setting off a mob war. Roy’s former employers are pretty pissed and call The Wolf (Lundgren) to finish off the job. Thus setting off a cat and mouse game of destruction and spent bullets.
It’s not the greatest action film ever made but I’ve seen a ton worse. While the plot is unoriginal, the casting is pretty solid – the mobster’s look like mobsters and no one is so terrible that it grates on you. Director William Kaufman isn’t breaking any new cinematic ground here but he’s not a terrible director.
If I had to sum up the entire film, I’d say it’s paint by numbers. Nothing is terrible. It’s all rather predictable and pretty much everything can be seen coming a million miles away.
What makes One In The Chamber watchable is… and I feel really weird typing this… Dolph Lundgren.
Lundgren’s character loves old cars, old pinball machines and bad Hawaiian shirts. As one character describes him, “like Frank Sinatra on steroids”. There’s a sense of humour to the character that, despite the fact he’s a killing machine (seriously, he mows down a ton of guys in a betting parlour with ammo to spare), makes his character incredibly likeable. So much so, he’s the character you want to see a film with as opposed to Cuba’s Ray. To be honest, Dolph’s scenes almost seem like they are from a different film with a similar part (this might be due to the shooting schedule, I imagine to keep things cheap, they shot when they could with both stars and then shot around them).
In fact, the end sets up a sequel with a much better premise that I would go to see in the theatre.
The blu-ray for One In The Chamber is perfectly fine in terms of the film (decent picture quality and sound) with minimal extras (an alright making of segment).
One In The Chamber is available now from Anchor Bay Entertainment.
And remember, if your going to geek out, GEEK HARD.