DVD Review: Death Warrior
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Death Warrior
Directed by: Bill Corcoran
Starring: Hector Echavarria, Tanya Clarke, Nick Mancuso, Keith Jardine, Sarain Boylan, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Rashad Evans, Georges St. Pierre,
Lionsgate Entertainment
Release Date: December 1, 2009

I don’t claim to be anywhere close to a professional critic; I’m just a guy who loves and has a passion for movies. When it comes to a movie like Death Warrior, it may just be one of the hardest movies I’ve ever tried to review for a couple of different reasons.

This is one of a new line of martial arts films written and produced by Hector Echavarria, a professional kickboxer who got into film making and before long, was breaking box office records in Latin America and being hailed as the next great action star.

The movie tells the story of a top talent in the budding world of Mixed Martial Arts named Reinero (Echavarria), who, right when things are looking very bright, is attacked in the middle of the night. Once the group of intruders have him restrained, the man behind them, Ivan (Nick Mancuso), steps in and inserts something into the stomach of Reinero’s wife, Kira (Tanya Clarke). Ivan explains that what he has just done is placed a capsule or sorts into her stomach, which will make her very sick at first, and then eventually kill her. The only way to avoid this is to take part in Ivan’s evil money-making gambling operation, which involves the best fighters on the planet — many of whom are close friends — battling to the death in order to save the lives of their loved ones while millionaires place massive bets on them.

Continue reading for more and to watch a trailer…if you dare.

I can try all I want, but there isn’t much to say about Death Warrior. I wish I could be technical and objective, but there’s no happy-middle ground here, I’m afraid…it’s just a bad movie all-around.

After viewing the trailer for this movie, I won’t lie, my expectations were insanely low right off the bat. A double negative to it all was that I am a longtime die hard fan of MMA and have been watching since the mid ’90s. Considering that many top stars of the UFC appeared in this movie — Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (who’s playing B.A. Baracus in the A-Team remake), “Sugar” Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine, Georges St. Pierre — you might think I would enjoy this flick based just on that, but I did not, and I doubt many would. I’m a fan of all of these guys and their fighting skills, which makes being negative even harder, but I’m not going to lie, even at the risk of one of them killing me some day.

The problem is that Death Warrior and these other movies being produced are not made to be fun, entertaining action movies, they’re made to make money off of the names and faces of these fighters by throwing them in front of the camera and having them say a couple lines before a cheesy fight sequence. While I like to stay neutral and professional in my reviews, I also really don’t like this. There’s a pile of these movies out there with many more great fighters being featured, and while the fighters themselves are having fun making the flick (who wouldn’t have fun being in a movie?) there are still a lot of people spending their hard-earned money on a bad movie just based on the fact that a superstar fighter is in it, and that feels wrong to me.

If they do want to keep making movies like Death Warrior, they need to do a few things differently to make them more fun for the fans who want to see their favorite fighters doing small roles. The biggest issues are the writing, directing, and star. It looks like Mr. Echavarria likes to write and star in his films, but he would need to step back and let someone else put these things together to build better movies. No one’s saying John Claude Van Damme was the greatest actor of all time, but he had something to him that made his movies fun and entertaining. That’s completely missing here. It’s not easy to be the main character in a film, and they need a stronger actor to anchor the productions. Maybe Echavarria can show up in smaller roles like the fighters, but a leading man he is not.

After that, they need better scripts. There’s nothing compelling going on here — it’s just a lot of weak story and a lot of dry, boring performances that surround a fight every 10 minutes or so. Get someone who can create a strong and semi-unique story, build even just some basic characters that we can latch on to a little, and add some humor or something to keep your viewers entertained.

Add to all of this a director who knows how to get a performance out of his actors, and they’ll be well on their way to some better action flick fun. But for now, I can’t recommend that anyone go out and buy this movie. Death Warrior is simply not made for the fans, and that missing element is very obvious.

One positive thing I can say about this movie is Nick Mancuso, who plays the villain in the film. He embraces the things that I mentioned above that can make a fun action flick, even knowing this isn’t going to be the greatest film of all time. He’s not going to win any awards for his performance, but there was life to it, and there was personality to it. He was pretty great at being this incredibly psychotic entrepreneur, and he was easily the only bright spot to the entire ordeal.


There’s a few features to check out here, but not too much.

Mainly, there’s some interviews with the fighters and a type of making-of feature, some deleted scenes, and a few trailers.

The only trailer I could find is this semi-NSFW Red Band trailer, but don’t worry too much, it’s a blur and you don’t see much.


1 Comment »

  1. I’m a big MMA fan but my word… Words fail me. Everything about this stinks.

    Comment by scrotumbagmonkeyflicker — April 25, 2010 @ 9:53 am

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