24th Oct2015

‘Deadly Target’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Michael Jai White, Steve Austin, Max Ryan, Jon Osbeck, Allen Yates, Ashleigh Barnett, Matthew Bentley, Bobby Burns, Joe Fidler, John W. Lawson | Written by Kevin Carraway, Lawrence Sara | Directed by Kevin Carraway


Dear god, can’t someone give Michael Jai White a break? The star of the underrated Spawn, the fantastic blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite, and the man behind supervillain Bronze Tiger in season 2 of Arrow, has been toiling away in DTV action movie purgatory for some time now. For every decent action movie he makes – like Never Back Down 2 and Undisputed 2; he also has to appear in ill-judged films like Falcon Rising and this, Deadly Target.

Originally titled Chain of Command (no doubt renamed to stop any confusion with the hundred or so other movies with that moniker), Deadly Target sees White star as Special Operative James Webster who returns home after a tour of duty, only to witness the brutal slaying of his brother. Webster immediately tries to retaliate and hunt down the perpetrators, at the cost of another friend, Cliff’s, life. But as he delves deeper into the secret world of corruption and murder, he finds himself at the center of a deadly conspiracy that cuts deep inside the walls of the US Government. With the most ruthless military assassin (Steve Austin) hot on his trail, Webster must expose the corrupt high-ranking officials before he becomes just another victim of the nefarious plot…

If you like your action filled with amateur stuntmen, gunshots that are all, and I mean ALL, rendered in CGI and a plot you can guess within the first fifteen minutes, then Deadly Target is for you. And that’s the films biggest problem – the plot. There is a MASSIVE clue given to who is behind the death of Webster’s brother and friend within before the two characters are even dead… And then the reason why they are killed? Well that particular plot device (and it’s location) is also telegraphed in the very same scene! Treating your audience like morons is not a particularly good way to get them on side – especially when your film needs all the help and support it can get.

It’s obvious, in almost each and every scene, that White is working at a higher standard and to a greater calibre than the rest of the cast. Especially in the fight scenes. There’s not a single person in this film that even approaches White in terms of being able to actually fight on screen! And there are a couple of scenes where it painfully obvious and truly painful to watch (just check out White’s fight with the attacker in Cliff’s house to see that). But not even White can polish the turd that is the script for Deadly Target, no matter how hard he tries. Hell, even Steve Austin  – who is usually a safe bet in the current DTV market – looks like he’s phoning this one in!

Definitely one for the masochistic action movie crowd,  Deadly Target is released on DVD, by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, on November 16th.


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