This After Dark Action film slipped under my radar earlier in the year, but I saw it in Wal-Mart the other day and picked it up. Although it doesn’t have the most original story of all time, there are a few surprising twists and turns and the odd plot line doesn’t go where you think. I was sitting going “oh this’ll happen next, etc” but screenwriter Adam Mervis was obviously aware of the cliches and did something a little different.
The story is about a former NCAA champion wrestler (Wes Chatham) who is paroled after 10 years in prison. To save a friend’s (Devon Sawa) life, in a series of cage fights he must agree to do the impossible – lose. So far, so blah, right? But these After Dark Action films have proved to be much better than expected with good direction, scripts and production values.
The Philly Kid also has a pretty good supporting cast including Michael Jai White and Neal McDonough who are great as always. Devon Sawa’s character is the loser best friend who keeps doing dumb shit and getting into trouble for it. You’re expecting him to make more mistakes as the story progresses but like I said before, the story isn’t quite as you’d expect.
The film is well paced and the fight choreography is excellent with no shaky cam. Wes Chatham looks a little like Casper Van Dien but with a mean streak. His character is a bit of a badass and he’s in great physical shape. He’s a likable guy who keeps getting into bad situations.
There is the obligatory love interest which is always guaranteed to stop an action movie dead, but thankfully it doesn’t take up too much time and we still get plenty of beat-downs.
The music score was cool with some nice twangy guitar and blues tunes, which create an interesting vibe.
Overall, The Philly Kid won’t win any awards for originality, but it has a good cast and some decent plot twists to keep the story interesting. Just don’t expect to think about it 20 minutes after watching it.