Stars: Alexander Nevsky, Kristanna Loken, Adrian Paul, Robert Davi, Robert Madrid, Matthias Hues, Oksana Sidorenko, Emmanuil Vitorgan, Olga Rodionova, Polina Butorina | Written by Brent Huff, George Saunders | Directed by Alexander Nevsky
So let me get this straight; we have a brand-new direct to DVD film, the second feature from star/director Alexander Nevsky, who’s been dubbed the “Russian Schwarzenegger”, that is exec produced (and apparently re-written) by Sheldon Lettich, the writer/director of AWOL, Double Impact and Only the Strong, and who also wrote Rambo 3 and Bloodsport. Not only that, the film stars a who’s who of 90s action including Adrian Paul, Robert Davi and – surprise, surprise – villainous action movie stalwart Matthias Hues. And… it comes from the writing team of Brent Huff, writer/director of the awesome 90s action flick The Bad Pack, which also starred Robert Davi; and George Saunders, who penned Bloodsport 4 and co-wrote the 2006 Van Damme flick The Hard Corps with Sheldon Lettich.
What does all of that mean? Well, for many it would mean that they’re living in the 90s… For me it means a day one purchase; and hopefully for anyone else whose an action movie fan too, after all the combination of talent here can’t not produce direct to DVD gold!
Alexander Nevsky’s follow-up to Moscow Heat, which also co-starred Adrian Paul, Black Rose tells the story of a serial killer who is knocking off young Russian women in Los Angeles, leaving no clues, only the titular black rose as a calling card. Desperate to solve the case, L.A. Police Captain Dalano (Davi) calls on the Russian police for help – who send man-mountain Major Vlad Kazatov (Nevsky) to California to literally kick-ass and take names. Bringing his own brand of Russian police sanctioned justice to the streets, Kazatov is teamed with Detective Emily Smith (Loken) to try and crack the case as the body count rises.
Opening with Kazatov single-handedly taking down a group of bank robbers led by Matthais Hues, Black Rose is a Jack the Ripper-esque thriller that echoes the 90s trend of DTV thrillers that saw two cops thrown together to solve a serial crime – only this film doesn’t bother with the more “erotic” aspects of the genre during that decade – instead it goes for Seven style ultra-violenceand a twsit ending that, honestly, if you’ve experienced these types of thrillers before, you’ll see coming a mile off.
That’s not to say it’s not worth sticking with the film, it does exactly what it sets out to do – deliver an old-school action thriller experience – and it does so very well. And despite not being as action-packed as Moscow Heat, Black Rose is still a solid second feature from producer/star/direcotr Nevsky. If he keeps up this pace I’ve no doubt we’ll see something truly great (and hopefully just as steeped in 90s nostaglia) from him real soon.
Black Rose it out now on DVD, exclusively at Asda, from Gilt Edge Media.