21st Jun2015

‘Falcon Rising’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Neal McDonough, Michael Jai White, Laila Ali, Lateef Crowder, Hazuki Kato, Masashi Odate, Jazmín Caratini, Millie Ruperto, Daniel Cardona, Jimmy Navarro, Arzoris Perez | Written by Y.T. Parazi | Directed by Ernie Barbarash

falcon-rising-dvd

I am a huge fan of Michael Jai White. From his roles opposite Don “The Dragon” Wilson in Ring of Fire and its second sequel Lion Strike, to the first time I watched his starring role as the titular hero in the movie adaptation of Todd MacFarlane’s Spawn, to his directorial debut Never Back Down 2 (a truly under-rated DTV action movie sequel), I have sat through and thoroughly enjoyed a LOT of White’s movies.

Until now that is.

As I found with this flick, sometimes as a movie reviewer you come across a film that – despite it, on paper, ticking all your filmic checkboxes – really doesn’t click with you. For me, Falcon Rising is one such movie… Try as I might, I just don’t “get” this film, and that’s why it has taken so long for me to put finger to keyboard and bash out this review. For even as someone who loves to rip truly-bad movies apart (other reviewers will tell you its easy to write reviews of really good and really bad movies, it’s those in the middle ground that will get you), I just cannot appreciate this film as even a bad action movie. In fact I couldn’t appreciate the full running time of this movie at all!

Yes, Falcon Rising is one of those rare cases where I couldn’t sit through the entire movie… And that’s despite trying a handful of times (another reason this review is late). From what I can gather, and courtesy of the films official synopsis, here’s what the film is “supposed” to be about:

Falcon Rising – apparently conceived as the film film in a new action-movie franchise – tells the story of former marine John ‘Falcon’ Chapman, a dark anti-hero driven by guilt and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, who will destroy himself unless given something else to destroy – a useful weapon-of-last-resort for the U.S. State Department. When Chapman’s sister is brutally attacked while on assignment in Brazil, Chapman flies into Sao Paulo to track down her assailants, quickly entering the city’s seedy underbelly and discovering a world of drugs, the sex trade, corrupt cops, and organized crime syndicates battling for control.

However in reality, at least from my perspective, Falcon Rising features Michael Jai White’s Chapman sitting around on his couch, drinking and contemplating suicide by gun in the mouth. That’s until he’s told his daugfhter has got into trouble in Brazil. He then sits around a little longer, going through more emotional turmoil: anger, depression, hate – you know, the usual – before heading off to kick arse in Brazil. But it takes so damn long for the film to kick into proverbial high gear that by the time White’s character hits Brazil I had become totally disillusioned with this story, to the point of boredom. Yet, judging by the wealth of positive reviews for Falcon Rising it’s obvious that I’m in the minority, so maybe it’s best that you try this film for yourself.

Falcon Rising is out now on DVD and VOD from Spirit Entertainment.

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