Big creepy abandoned institutional buildings are always perfect for horror movies, like Gonjiam Asylum in Korea. Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham, AL has been the subject of its own YouTube exploration videos, but in this case, it is the setting for an action throwdown. There is money hidden in the [renamed] decommissioned hospital and a couple of average blokes hope to find it before a ruthless gang of criminals—and also before the building is demolished in Dolph Lundgren’s Castle Falls, which releases Friday in theaters and on-demand.
Mike was once a MMA contender, but we watch him blow his very last shot during the prologue. Now he is a day-laborer living out of his car, so he is relatively happy to get a few days work stripping down the old Castle Falls hospital. At the eleventh hour of their last day, he uncovers a large cache of cash.
Lt. Ericson knows about it too. He is an honest corrections officer, but he desperately needs money for his daughter Emily’s surgery. It turns out the money was stolen from a vicious white power gang by a non-violent inmate looking to do a deal. The trouble will be getting out alive when the also gang turns at Castle Falls. With the building rigged to explode in 90 minutes, so Mike and Ericson will have to trust each to survive, but they get off to a rocky start.
Scott Adkins and Lundgren (who worked together before in films, like Legendary) certainly know their way around a gritty beatdown and they certainly work well together here. Adkins shows off his martial arts chops (and has some nice scenes with Vas Sanchez as his new work buddy), while Lundgren acts his age convincingly as the shrewder but somewhat tired and broken-down Ericson.
He also has some appealingly tender and humanizing scenes with Emily, played by his real-life daughter, Ida Lundgren. As a director, Lundgren maybe over-complicates the opening, but the action sequences are raw and sometimes brutal. He is also a producer and the fictional demolition company is named “Lundgren,” so there is no question this is a Dolph Lundgren joint.
Castle Falls, you will probably want a tetanus shot booster. Several significant scenes also take place in the prison, which looks even less inviting. There is nothing luxurious about the film, but it plays to its stars’ strengths.
This is definitely a meathead movie, but it has far more blue-collar honesty and mature tough-guy integrity than most of Bruce Willis’s straight-to-VOD movies of the week. Adkins and Lundgren have instant action cred and we actually care about their remorseful characters. Recommended for fans of the two stars and the old school action genre, Castle Falls releases this Friday (12/3).