04th Jan2019

‘Intensive Care’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Tara Macken, Jai Rodriguez, Leslie Easterbrook, Kevin Sizemore, Jose Rosete, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Gunnar Sizemore, Austin Pollard, Ela Gavrila | Written by Jared Bentley, Darrin Scane, Eric Storlie | Directed by Jared Bentley

Intensive-Care-Poster

You always have to worry when movies are advertised as “x meets y”, even if that – sometimes – is actually the best way to describe a film, In the case of Intensive Care, its “John Wick meets Don’t Breathe” an interesting combination if there ever was one. But its also a combo that conjures up all sorts of exciting hype – hype that the film couldn’t possibly live up to right… Right?

Well, sort of.

Like all great action movies, Intensive Care keeps its plot simple: three low life criminals plan to rob an elderly woman’s home, but her caregiver turns out to be a former special ops agent with an agenda of her own. That’s all you need to know about the film – the rest of the story is left up to the action-packed, ass-kicking within. Well that and the fact we’re introduced to our protagonist with a fight sequence filled with some fantastic combat that REALLY lets the audience know what kind of heroine Alex (Tara Macken) is.

Intensive Care is also the latest in a growing line of films that give stunt women the spotlight – in this case Tara Macken takes the lead having worked extensively as a stunt double in films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Infinity War and TV series such as Agents of Shield (where she doubled for Ming Na Wen) and Supergirl. And like those stunt women that have made the move into acting roles – in particular Zoe Bell and more recently Amy Johnston – Macken makes for both a compelling actress and great action heroine.

Yes, the film is packed with fights, yes there’s an intriguing “home invasion” story (which is more Home Alone than Don’t Breathe FYI). However the major issue with Intensive Care is that our former Special Forces heroine isn’t that special, in fact she’s captured, hurt and injured more times than any “hero” of recent memory! I get that the filmmakers were going for a more realistic take on the action film – after all its one small woman versus three men; and obviously the John Wick influence is at play here, as this films heroine Alex is as vulnerable, if not moreso, as Keanu Reeves’ hero was – only this takes “fragile hero” to a ridiculous extreme. Or so it seems…

It would seem that Intensive Care has a little extra “something” up its sleeve, in that the fragility of our heroine is actually a trap for the intruders – you see we, as well as the films antagonists, are lulled into believing Alex isn’t that special, that perhaps her training has been forgotten in the intervening years, however that’s DEFINITELY not the case. And that’s where, I think, the references to Don’t Breathe eminate from – no one expected that films blind man to fight back, and no-one expected, given how over-powered she is early on, Alex to fight back so well either. Plus, like the blind man of Don’t Breathe, Alex actually has an evil streak!

An great action-orientated take on the home invasion thriller, Intensive Care ranks up there with Intruders as a superb example of subverting audiences genre expectations – just make sure you stick around for the mid-credit sting which actually finishes the movie and sets up a possible franchise(?)

Intensive Care is available On Demand and Digital HD now; the film is released on DVD on January 8th from High Octane Pictures.

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