Stars: Kenny Johnson, Bill Goldberg, Mindy Robinson, Tyler Mane, William Forsythe, Kane Hodder, Krista Grotte, Michelle Lee, Fred Williamson, Olga Safari, Ricky Harris | Written by Thomas J. Churchill, AJ Perez | Directed by Thomas J. Churchill
Apparently “inspired by true events” (or so the opening title card says), Check Point is the latest film from Thomas J. Churchill who – until now – has worked extensively in the horror genre. Here he not only brings his experience to the action movie genre, but also some acting talent too – the film features Jason Vorhees actor Kane Hodder and former Michael Myers, Tyler Mane, too! But that pair are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Check Point‘s cast: just look at the cast list above – it reads like a who’s who of genre talent. Old school performers William Forsythe and Fred Williamson share screen time with the likes of WWE Superstar Goldberg AND Thomas Latimer, aka TNA Wrestling’s Bram; as well as comedian Ricky Harris (Everybody Hates Chris), in his final screen role, alongside stunt performer and actress Michelle Lee (Metal Hurlant Chronicles). Plus… in a huge surprise, Stephen Geoffreys of Fright Night and 976-Evil fame in a rare feature role.
The hero of Check Point though is Kenny Johnson (The Shield, Sons of Anarchy), who plays a former marine turned homeless vet who discovers plans for an invasion in America. When he tries to notify the local Sheriff about his discovery, the Sheriff dismisses his claims and has him locked up for loitering. When the Sheriff notices odd interactions with other towns folk he begins to look into the vagrants’ claim of a sleeper cell living amongst the locals within this small town. After evidence of a beheading is exposed, others begin to fear that the insurgents attack on hometown USA. Questions and tempers begin to rise. Why this little beach community with it’s Norman Rockwell way of life? A town where everyone knows one another… or so they thought. When the truth is blind and justice seems lost, It will take an army of five unlikely heroes banding together to infiltrate the insurgents and foil their invasion plans.
If you’re looking for the next Red Dawn or Invasion USA, Check Point is not it. Foregoing any action for the most part, the film is more a study of the effects of PTSD of veterans. Don’t get me wrong, there is some action here, but said action (gunfights between the terrrorists and our heroes – sadly all rendered in CGI) doesn’t kick in until around the hour mark. Until then, the film is a slow-burning pot boiler, exploring the relationship between the townsfolk of Port City and more importantly the realtionship between Johnson’s homeless marine Roy and his vagrant buddy Grant (Geoffreys). For it’s that close bond they have which ultimately reveals the homegrown terrorist plot and allows Roy and a handful of patriotic residents to take on the insurgent group in a showdown that is over as quickly as it began.
A very patriotic movie – which even ends on a Ronald Reagan quote – Check Point is actually a very timely film. With the citizens of the US (and the UK to be fair) seemingly even more divided by political, economic and racial tensions it’s not hard to believe that something like this could happen. And it’s interesting to note how times have changed – in the 80s action movies were all about outside forces coming into America to terrorise the country. Today? The terror is much more homegrown. But woe betide it happens in small town America right?
Check Point is out now on DVD and VOD in the US. No word on a UK release as yet.