Action Movie Fanatix Review: Epicenter

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The Quake Was Only Half The Battle.

Starring: Gary Daniels, Traci Elizabeth Lords, Jeff Fahey

Director: Richard Pepin

2000  |  96 Minutes  |  Rated R

“Payback time.” – Nick Constantine

I’ve been a Gary Daniels fan for a while now.  The problem is, his movies can be a little hard to find sometimes.  And then once you have found them, they may be utter crap.  So, on the rare occasion that I run into a used copy of one of his movies I am always quick to snap it up.  Usually without even reading the back.  Epicenter is another of my awesome pawn shop finds.

After being arrested, computer hacking thief Nick Constantine (Gary Daniels) is set to be escorted to a Los Angeles Federal prison by FBI Agent Amanda Foster (Traci Lords).  That day, the city is rocked by a massive earthquake.  Even though they are on opposite sides of the law the two must band together to fight Russian mobsters and dirty cops who have vendettas to settle with both of them.

Here’s the thing about Gary Daniels movies… I am generally going to watch them in the hopes that he kicks some ass.  I didn’t pick up Epicenter thinking “Gee, I hope I get to see Gary Daniels wear some glasses and try to hack a computer for the first twenty minutes of the movie.”  He barely gets any chance to showcase his martial arts skills.

Traci Lords is unbelievable as a human being here… much less a caring and devoted non-stripper/pornstar mother and a FBI Agent.

Jeff Fahey makes for a pretty decent over the top FBI double agent.  Interesting note: the front cover shows Fahey with a cleanly shaved face while in the movie he always sports a little goatee.

There are a few decent action scenes and the special effects aren’t terrible.  A lot of it is the equivalent to shaking a camera to simulate an earthquake or having dust or fake bricks fall from the sky.  But it works.  The problem is a lot of footage has been ripped straight from other movies such as Speed, Money Train and Metro.  It might not be so obvious if the look of the film didn’t change so drastically between the footage they “borrowed” and the footage they actually shot.

And another thing!!!  The city of Los Angeles is absolutely decimated by this earthquake.  It is as if L.A. is completely unprepared for any earthquakes ever.  I hope this isn’t really the case.  I’ll stay away just in case.

It is probably worth mentioning that Epicenter is a PM Entertainment release which is normally something of a good sign but in this case it can’t help pull Epicenter from the nether regions of action/disaster filmdom.  There are moments of actual entertainment but the majority of Epicenter might as well be disaster movie stock footage and judging from the rest of the movie it might just be.

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