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Adrenaline (2022) Review

FBI Agent Victoria Travers (Constance Payne, Doomsday Stories, After We Collided) seems to be some kind of adrenaline junkie. She has a habit of doing things her own way, risks be damned. And after once again bringing a suspect in without waiting for backup, her boss Lockwood (Costas Mandylor, Unbound Evil, Cosmic Sin) tells her she’s taking a vacation whether she likes it or not. Judging by the way she calls him a son of a bitch we can assume she doesn’t like it.

For reasons of budget, the film’s not Victoria’s, she, along with her husband Steve (James Stokes, Tales from Parts Unknown, Reunion from Hell) and their daughter Juliette (Alma Petra Vago) decide Romania is the perfect place to take a vacation. Except it’s not much of a vacation because almost immediately after they arrive she spots wanted criminal John Slater (Louis Mandylor, Doom: Annihilation, Battle Drone).

Despite being well out of her jurisdiction, she decides to ditch her family, ignore orders from her boss, kidnap Slater, and smuggle him into Bulgaria from where he can be extradited. To the surprise of nobody but apparently her, right after she grabs him, someone kills her husband and kidnaps her kid to sell to organ harvesters. Now she has to race the clock to get Juliette back before she’s parted out like a stolen Corvette. And the only one who can help her do that is Slater.

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The law enforcement agent who puts their job before everything else has gone beyond cliché and become an archetype by this point. But in Adrenaline director Massimiliano Cerchi (Satan Claus, Lockdown) and writer Adrian Milnes (Bridge of the Doomed, Night of the Tommyknockers) take it to a ridiculous extreme and still expect us to see Travers as a heroine.

Despite being warned about the people Slater is involved with, she leaves her family clueless and defenseless to pursue an illegal attempt to bring a suspect in. She shows zero grief over her husband’s death, and actually seems angrier that her daughter’s kidnapping interferes with her plans than anything else. That last part however could be due to the fact that Payne’s acting leaves something to be desired, that something being the ability to act.

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If you follow Cerchi’s carer back through the years and pseudonyms, he once made some off-the-wall, fun films. These days he’s content to grind out bottom-of-the-barrel “thrillers” so I probably shouldn’t have been surprised this was a trainwreck. I was hoping that having a script written by Milnes, whose other films I’ve consistently liked, would have resulted in something better, but sadly that wasn’t the case.

Once Slate makes the inexplicable and instantaneous change of course from dealing with the film’s villains to risking his life to fight them, there is a bit more action. But it’s mostly small scale scuffles with disposable goons sandwiched in-between scenes of them driving around Bucharest, going from cheap looking set to cheap looking set looking for the main villain and/or Juliet.

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I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Adrenaline was originally intended to be another shot in Eastern Europe Steven Segal quickie that got reworked into a female fronted action film after His Immenseness left the project. If so, his absence, and its short seventy-five-minute running time, would be the best things about it. You still may need a shot of adrenaline to make it through Adrenaline, however.

Adrenaline has been released on a German Blu-ray with English and German audio options. Trailers for the film are scarce, and I had to go with one in English with Portuguese subtitles. But what can you expect from a film whose makers haven’t updated its Facebook page in over two years, not even to say it’s been released? Even they seem to want to forget about it. If you’re still looking for an action film after this, FilmTagger can offer some suggestions.

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