Bring Him Back Dead is the latest film by director Mark Savage (Sensitive New Age Killer, Fishnet). Back in 2017 when Purgatory Road was released I thought that would be the film that would break him out of the relative obscurity he’d been working in. Instead, he dropped off the radar for four years before making the extremely disappointing Painkiller. He seems to have bounced back from that and come back with a violent crime thriller.
What should have been a simple jewelry store robbery goes sideways and ends up in a bloody shootout. Leaving several people dead and one of the gang, Geoff (LeJon Woods, Dawn of the Beast, Asteroid) badly wounded. Now he and the rest of them, Killian (Ryan M. Shaw, Blowback, Vex), Zarina (Zhuzha Akova, Baker Enterprise), Hayden (Chris Torem, Vault, Code Name: Dynastud) and Alex (Gary Daniels, Fist of the North Star, I Am Vengeance), are holed up with the gang’s leader Trent (Louis Mandylor, The Mercenary, Doom: Annihilation) and his daughter Lisa (Katie Keene, Rogue Warfare, The ToyBox) waiting for The Buyer (Bruce Ross, Game Time, The Hindenburg Omen).
Now if this sounds a bit like Reservoir Dogs and Ringo Lam’s City on Fire the similarities are certainly there, at least through Bring Him Back Dead’s first act. The setting may be a rural cabin rather than an urban warehouse but writer Ben Demaree (The Gardener) serves up the same kind of nervous, distrustful bickering and squabbling as they try to blame each other for the plan falling apart.
There’s plenty of tough guy dialogue as well as some literal infighting as they try to hold it together for a few hours until the deal is completed. But a film like this wouldn’t be complete without a double cross or two and Bring Him Back Dead is no exception. Alex has his own plans for Lisa and the diamonds that include a buyer of his own, Boothe (Daniel Baldwin, Lady Psycho Killer, Deadly Sanctuary).
The film takes its name from Trent’s order to find Alex and bring him back dead. That order also comes with a recommendation to kill him sadistically, and there will be plenty of killing as the plot morphs into a Most Dangerous Game style wilderness chase enhanced with plenty of scheming and backstabbing with a fortune in diamonds up for grabs.
Despite being shot on what was fairly obviously a low-budget, much of which probably went on the name actors and renting a private plane and Maserati Bring Him Back Dead does deliver a fair amount of action although not without a few talky interludes. Savage is no stranger to cinematic bloodshed and along with stunt co-ordinator, David Lavallee Jr. (Crazed, The Changed) make the most of what they have to work with, which includes Daniels who is still flexible and willing to go for the flashier moves. Even if he does need the occasional help from slow-motion footage during his fight with Torem.
It’s a good thing the action does deliver because Bring Him Back Dead doesn’t have a lot more going on. There is an undeveloped sub-plot about what else Trent is delivering to the buyer, but really that’s it. The characters are cardboard cutouts, Zarina is a sadistic Russian hit woman, Killian is a mouthy punk, etc. Alex is given a bit more backstory and motivation to get the audience on his side, but it’s so cliched the film would have been better off without it.
There aren’t a lot of effects but there are a few bloody wounds done with practical effects. Unfortunately, they wasted an opportunity to make viewers squirm when Daniels rips an arrow out of his shoulder mid-fight. CGI is used for muzzle flashes and the film’s one explosion.
While not living up to the comparisons to Sam Peckinpah and Jim Thompson that its press release makes, Bring Him Back Dead is an enjoyably dark crime film that delivers more action than most of the similar bigger budget releases from Lionsgate and Vertical. Uncork’d Entertainment will release Bring Him Back Dead to DVD and Digital platforms on August 2nd. And if you’re looking for something similar while you wait FilmTagger has some suggestions.