28th Apr2020

‘Axcellerator’ Review (Amazon Prime)

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Ryan Wesen, Laura James, Sam J. Jones, Mark ‘Woody’ Keppel, John James, Maxwell Caulfield, Sean Young, David Johnson, John Romeo | Written by David Giancola, Mike Ford | Directed by David Giancola

Dane (Ryan Wesen) only wanted to steal a car but, when a panicked inventor (Mark ‘Woody’ Keppel) dives in the passenger seat with a pistol and a teleportation device, he’s suddenly in the middle of a car chasing government gun battle. Kate (Laura James) only wanted to keep her lousy job but, when Dane teleports into her arms, the two are thrown into the heart of a sinister global conspiracy. Hunted by a sadistic assassin (Sam J Jones) they must find a way to save themselves, figure out who to trust how and more importantly, how to make this crazy device work again.

Who knew that in a low-budget action film we’d get to see two former Dynasty stars appearing on-screen together? Maxwell Caulfield and John James even get to re-enact one of those threatening tete-a-tete conversations in a room decorated similarly to the show back in the day. However it’s not surprising really, James’ daughter Laura is one of the leads in the film and he’s one of the executive producers!

Speaking of leads, Kate and Dane, Axellerator‘s pair of unlikely teleporting heroes – played by Laura James and Ryan Wesen respectively – feel very familiar. That’s probably because Axcellerator seems to be molded on the kinds of 80s sci-fi/fantasy films people of a certain age, myself included, all grew up on. WarGames, Electric Dreams, Short Circuit, Tron, The Goonies – the kind of wish-fulfillment movies that told extraordinary tales whilst also encompassing themes of love, friendship and overcoming the odds. Kate and Dane, are very much borne of the same charismatic leading roles as the protagonists of those films were – and it’s that charisma and likability that keeps you watching for the most part.

The other reason to keep watching is Sam J. Jones, former Flash Gordon turned B-movie star who here plays an over the top hitman-come-assassin, who chews up each and every scene he’s in; giving an over the top performance that actually fits the the bad guy role – his larger than life villain is a perfect foil for the heroes AND reflects the same stereotype found in the films this movie looks to homage.

For the most part Axellerator looks great, especially given the low-budget nature of the film – though there some rather clunky examples of green screen effects that let down the production somewhat. However the rest of the movie is shot well, with no reliance of shaky cam and over-editing (something which modern low-budget action films can be accused of), making Axellerator look very much like a DTV film from the 90s and that’s NOT a bad thing! But then when you have a director who’s prior work was mainly in that era it should come as no surprise.

A fun throwback to the kinds of films I grew up renting, watching, and loving, Axellerator is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video now.


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