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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Shakedown
Shakedown
New Concorde // Unrated // July 23, 2002
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Dvdempire]
Review by G. Noel Gross | posted May 26, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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CineSchlock-O-Rama

Something strange is going on with Erika Eleniak. The Playboy Playmate and original "Baywatch" babe has become a regular presence in B-pictures in recent years, but somehow or another she's able to keep her clothes ON. It just goes against the unwritten maxim of the genre world. Busty blonde = nekkidness. In fact, if memory serves, the last we saw the whole Eleniak was about six flicks ago in The Opponent. And before THAT there was quite a stretch. So CineSchlockers will just have to hang on to those fond cake-poppin' memories of Under Siege, because Erika's top sure ain't poppin' in Shakedown (2002, 92 minutes).

The movie: Here's a scene for one to truly grasp the fevered absurdity of this sucker. A really, really deadly airborne strain of anthrax has been stolen and stashed in a safety deposit box. Federal agents, including our hero Alex McKay (Wolf Larson), have the high-rise bank under surveillance and are poised to swoop in for an arrest. Meanwhile, Julie Hayes (Ms. Eleniak) is held hostage by some unpleasant friends of her brother who plan to ROB said bank. As she attempts to signal McKay, in walks paramilitary religious fanatic St. Joy (Ron Perlman) to collect the virus he intends to unleash on a sinful world. But before the exchange can take place, the gangland-style robbery ensues, which is immediately answered by the feds already on the scene. Uh oh, right? Wait, there's more! In storms St. Joy's machine-gun toting followers and it's Mexican Standoff City. That is until Mother Nature ups the cinematic ante with THE BIG ONE (thanks to a Cuisinart mixture of stock earthquake footage, shaky camera work and oodles of CGI shenanigans). Danged brilliant setup. Trouble is it gets frittered away into a predictable race-against-the-clock whilst fending off a horde of terrorists formula. However, Perlman's pearls of malevolent insanity do manage to keep the flick out of the ditch. CineSchlockers will recognize TV's "Hunter" Fred Dryer as the Washington bigwig who spends the whole picture on the phone. Not exactly the best use of his talents. Now, THERE'S a guy who should be getting more work!

Notables: No breasts. 88 corpses. Chopper attack. Squealing hostage impalement. Multiple point-blank executions. Near-continuous gun battles. Prayer for dead pigeon. Multiple explosions. Gratuitous urination. Animated Matrix-style bullets.

Quotables: Cocksure McKay sums up the potential of the stolen bioweapon, "It would make the Ebola virus look like diaper rash." St. Joy sermonizes, "Brothers and sisters, what we have witnessed is the wrath of an angry god. God sent us this quake, as the holy prophecies foretold. Shake up the Earth, wake up the sinners." But not everyone is receptive, "What the hell is this? The 700 Club?!"

Time codes: Ms. Eleniak joins the picture (5:35). First quake (10:50). Things get a whole lot worse (24:50). Classic action-movie stunt with hero sliding down elevator cable guns blazing (36:40). The ol' impending-military-air-strike plot device (49:10). Thirty minutes to doomsday (1:03:20). Erika emotes (1:24:35).

Audio/Video: Presented in widescreen (1.85:1). Image quality gets dicey with the patchwork earthquake footage and digital grain is common.

Extras: Early review screener only featured a trailer.

Final thought: Mighty shaky after a helluva opening reel. Among the first B-pictures clearly influenced, yet not left toothless, by 9-11. Recommended.

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G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.
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