Sunday, August 09, 2020

Hard Night Falling, with Dolph Lundgren

Mystery-thriller fans like to think of Interpol as an agency of globe-trotting super-cops, but they have really just been bureaucrats serving as an international clearing house informing member countries of known criminals. Frustratingly, the organization has been corrupted in recent years by China and Russia, who have abused Interpol’s subpoena system to harass dissidents and human rights activists. Honestly, the nation of Spain should be ashamed of itself for arresting Bill Browder at Putin’s behest. Still, it is much more fun to think Interpol as an elite group of crime-fighters. That is definitely the sort of fictional Interpol agent Dolph Lundgren plays in Giorgio Bruno’s Hard Night Falling, which hits regular Prime tomorrow.

Michael Anderson and his three team-mates busted the arms dealers they were tracking, but thanks to the interference of the Italian cops, their latest customers got away. Unfortunately, Anderson will quickly find them again that night, when he joins his daughter Diana and gently-estranged wife Mary at a swanky banquet in fabulous chateau outside Rome. The reunion goes well until a heavily armed gang takes the party hostage. Being a pro, Anderson makes a gunman just in time to hustle his daughter to safety, but he is separated from his wife during the scuffling. Of course, he made the right choice, especially since his wife is a doctor, who will definitely be useful to have around on a night like this.

Things get pretty
Die Hard-ish from here on out, but two-thirds of the action comes from Anderson’s team fighting their way in than from the big guy inside. Regardless, the action here is pretty good. Bruno produced Lundgren’s last neo-Poliziotteschi, The Tracker, which was more stylish and probably a better showcase for its star. However, the stunt work and fight choreography are definitely superior in Hard Night.

In fact, most of the best fights feature Natalie Burn, who is quite impressive as Emma, the Black Widow-ish member of Anderson’s team. This is a vast improvement over her last film with Lundgren, the rather grim
Acceleration. If it were not for the production shutdown (thanks Xi Jinping), Hard Night could have really given her some momentum.

Of course, the ever-cool Lundgren solidly anchors the proceedings, still looking credible as an action hero and even engaging us a little emotionally as a concerned husband and father. Plus, Hal Yamanouchi (whose past gigs include dubbing Ken Watanabe in Italian) is suitably villainous chewing the scenery as the ringleader, Goro.

The caper business in Alessandro Riccardi and Giorgio Serafini’s screenplay is nothing special and the Italian cops are dumber than a pan of under-cooked macaroni, but the agile action is the important thing. Burn and Lundgren definitely deliver in that respect. It is not a particularly lofty or ambitious film, but it is the sort of movie that satisfies, if you just want to turn off your brain and watch something, especially for Prime members, starting tomorrow (8/10).