Gary Daniels & The 3 R’s: Riot, Rage and Recoil

I was watching one of my absolute favourite Gary Daniels movies the other day called Recoil and it reminded me just how awesome his movies can be. When he worked with PM Entertainment in particular the action was just spectacular but it’s also important to note that the best movies began with the letter “R”, alphabet fans!

I’m not going to talk about Rumble, Retrograde or Reptilicant as they are more recent so I wanted to just pay tribute to three of my favourite Gary Daniels movies.

Rage (1995) 

From the awesome truck chase to the various punch ups and stunts, Rage from director Joseph Merhi still stands out as a massively fun actioner.

Sure, it won’t win prizes for some of the acting but if you’re looking for 90’s action at its best then look no further.

Daniels plays a teacher and I actually found these scenes were the best acted as he brought surprising sensitivity to the moments he spends with the young kids. This totally puts you on his side before he is kidnapped and moments before being turned into a super soldier he escapes, punching his way to victory.

He’s an invincible badass in this movie where he can fall off buildings, get shot and more but even this doesn’t stop him from kicking ass.

It wastes no time in getting going and moves along at a good pace until the action packed finale.

The fight scenes are nicely done and like I said the stunt work is first rate which really made this stand out; it’s a shame it’s not a better known film.

Director Joseph Merhi always had a keen eye for action scenes as he also directed Jeff Wincott’s Last Man Standing and Michael Madsen’s underrated Executive Target.

The plot and script are bonkers and don’t really matter as it’s all just an excuse for plenty of action, which is just fine in my book.

Rage is of of Gary Daniels’ finest hours with plenty of action from beginning to end so you should definitely check it out.

Recoil (1998)

The opening of Recoil has some of the best action of the 90’s and just made me pine for the good old days when shit got blown up good and stunts weren’t done using CGI. It’s not just opening however, the rest of the movie has plenty of action too; Daniels is an amazing martial artist and the fight scenes are fluid and easy to watch.

Considering the film didn’t have a huge budget, the action just is insane and really has to be seen to be believed.

It’s a fast 90 minutes moving along at a breakneck pace and yet you are pretty involved with the story too. I like how the bad guys are out for revenge against the hero so you see their motivation, rather than them just being cartoon style villains.

Admittedly the acting isn’t the greatest with some wooden delivery, but if you can get past that then you’ll have a blast with Recoil. It’s also not the most original film ever in terms of story, but that’s just nit-picking.

After 20 years Recoil is still an ass-kicking old-school action movie with stunning set-pieces, great fights and an excellent pace. It’s only let down by some bad acting in places.

Riot (1996)

Riot is packed with action and once again features Gary Daniels kicking unbelievable amounts of ass as he hunts down the kidnappers of his (potential) future bride.

The cast includes Sugar Ray Leonard, Patrick Kilpatrick and Charles Napier who actually plays a good guy rather than the conniving two-faced asshole he played in the likes of First Blood: Part II.

Riot feels a little like Escape from New York (or LA where the film is set) and there is always this feeling of impending threat. It’s not exactly serious stuff though as our hero battles an entire street hockey team singlehandedly and endless amounts of rioters who have taken to the streets and are out for blood.

Things take an odd twist when the IRA show up (don’t you hate it when that happens?) and we discover that they are responsible for the kidnapping and it’s all been a setup. The big bad has the very Oirish name of Bryan O’Flaherty and is played by Patrick Kilpatrick (Death Warrant). I always love watching Kilpatrick as a villain as he usually oozes menace but I was more focused on the dodgy Irish accents which merely added to the film’s entertainment factor.

Some of the supporting cast won’t win any Oscars any time soon either but this is a PM Entertainment movie so you know what to expect going in.

Sugar Ray Leonard is sadly killed off half way through the movie which was a shame as he and Daniels had some choice scenes especially the highlight of the movie which was a bar fight against some rednecks.

Riot is action-packed with some cool stunts and an awesome bar fight; if you’re a fan of Gary Daniels then seek it out as it is indeed a riot.