Blowback is yet another film that begins somewhere in the midst of the story before cutting back to the beginning. In this case, the beginning is Nick (Cam Gigandet, 9 Bullets, Never Back Down) playing chess with his hospitalized daughter. She needs an experimental, and expensive treatment to save her life. But a rideshare driver’s paycheck isn’t going to cover that.
Fortunately, he’s not exactly the most honest of people and knows a few people if you know what I mean. He gets a lead on some extremely valuable thumb drives being held at a local bank and decides to pull off a heist. Right from the start he makes a big mistake and involves his ex Veronica (Michele Plaia, Cloudy with a Chance of Sunshine) and her current man Jack (Randy Couture, The Alpha Code, The Expendables). No good ever comes of a move like that.
Director Tibor Takács has a career that stretches back to 1978 and includes the cult favourites The Gate and I Madman as well as old-school Sci-Fi Channel perennials like Ice Spiders and Mansquito. Saying he should know what he’s doing on a film like Blowback is an understatement.
Here though he’s working from a script with four writers. For three of them, Robert Giardina, Robert Edward Thomas, and Kevin Yarris, Blowback is their only credit. The fourth, Matthew Eason has Night of the Sicaro and TV shows like Strictly Dr. Drew and My House Is Worth What? on his resume. If that sounds like a recipe for disaster, guess what?
If you guessed that they double-cross Nick and pump him full of bullets but forget to make sure he’s dead, you’ve seen as many of these films as the writers have. And if you also guess he spends the rest of the film getting revenge and dodging cops that include Detective Cooper (Louis Mandylor, The Doorman, Rambo: Last Blood) and Detective Owens (Texas Battle, Trauma Center, Wrong Place) you would also be correct.
Blowback’s cast doesn’t help matters either. I get that Randy Couture has name recognition from his MMA days and certainly looks like a badass. But he isn’t much of an actor and frequently seems lost when he has to deliver dialogue instead of punches. Gigandet is just bland, so bland it’s hard to get behind him even though as a father pushed to his limits and then betrayed he should be easy to root for.
As for the action, Blowback is a lower-budget film so I knew not to expect wall-to-wall mayhem, but it takes twenty minutes to get to the brief in and out robbery. And another ten before Nick eats a bullet. And a fair amount of the time after that is spent watching the cops try to track him down. Of course, it’s to Nick’s advantage that after he’s brought to the hospital by the cops they don’t connect him to the robbery and he’s able to waltz right out and go about getting revenge.
The fact that revenge is mostly gotten via the muscle and other resources of a conveniently cooperative mobster only serves to make Nick look particularly weak. Whatever happened to the protagonist doing his own rough stuff? As for Jack, he spends more time slapping Veronica around than fighting Nick. Not that that’s hard, they don’t fight at all, they have a brief, and I do mean brief, shootout.
While Blowback doesn’t exactly blow, it does just plod along without ever picking up any momentum or generating any excitement. Even Takács seems to be phoning it in, although with what he has to work with that’s not surprising. Any effort he put into this poorly plotted, low action film would have been wasted. Just like your time will be if you watch it.
Saban Films released Blowback to “select” theatres and on VOD and Digital platforms today. Paramount will release it on DVD at a later date. If you’re looking for a bit more action, FilmTagger has the suggestions.