Run Time: 83 Mins
What To Expect: A cheap and shoddy cash-in, Michael Jai White doesn’t even make it worth it
Universal’s VOD division (1440) is continuing its streak of dusting off old theatrical properties with cheap sequels, sidequels and reboots in an attempt to see if any fish will take the bait. Sometimes it’s Jarhead (Jarhead 3), sometimes it’s even Kindergarten Cop (Kindergarten Cop 2). Now it’s 1995 actioner Sudden Death’s turn, where Michael Jai White stars in Welcome to Sudden Death, a ‘sequel’ to the original in name, but in practice a remake.
Like the old movie, MJW appears as a security guard (Jesse) at an arena who takes his kids to a sports game (basketball this time). In the background, a group of thieves disguised as security guards sneak and kill their way into the VIP box with a view to blackmailing officials in there to fill their bank accounts. These scenes are useless, with everyone in there being no-name actors (not like the original, which had the inimitable Powers Boothe delivering salty wisecracks in between action scenes). When the thieves take Jesse’s daughter, it’s time to start snapping necks.
Being a 1440 movie, you’d expect this to be rushed and cheap. Unfortunately, the film holds true to Universal’s VOD form. The story is a straight rip off of the original, which itself was a Die Hard Clone, but with amateur hour direction, poverty-level production values and really distractingly bad acting from most. Of course, Michael Jai White is easy to watch in most things, but most of his victims here can’t even keep up with the guy’s choreography. Only one or two fight scenes are passable, but seem rushed, they seem unbecoming of MJW’s excellence.
Make no mistake, Blood & Bone this is not. Watch the original instead, in that movie, Peter Hyams created tension in scenes where nothing of note was even happening. In this movie, this doesn’t even happen at pivotal points. Universal, it’s time to call time on these lousy cash-ins. A red fucking card.