Revisiting Epicenter (2000) with Gary Daniels, Jeff Fahey & Traci Lords
Plot: Amanda Foster (Traci Lords) is a San Francisco detective whose career has overwhelmed whatever personal life she once had. When she’s assigned to accompany a witness, Nick Constantine (Gary Daniels), to Los Angeles, Foster sees this as a chance to reconnect with her estranged daughter, Robyn (Katie Stuart). Instead, it turns into a battle for her life, as her plans are wrecked by a group of Russian mobsters, crooked cops and a catastrophic earthquake.
Gary Daniels, Traci Lords and Jeff Fahey star in the PM Entertainment disaster movie which has surprisingly good visual effects considering it likely had a modest budget. Epicenter has an interesting story as it manages to be unpredictable as we wonder if Gary Daniels is a hero, villain or something in between. Traci Lords seemed to be attracted to roles where she played tough characters and in this she is an undercover FBI agent called Amanda Foster who apprehends Daniels as he’s making a deal with some Russian gangsters for a microchip.
Amanda is dedicated to her job but tends to neglect her daughter who decides to go to Los Angeles and live with her dad. In a piece of convenient timing Amanda has to transport Nick Constantine (Daniels) to L.A. so she want sot reconnect with her daughter but mother nature and various gangsters have other plans.
Epicenter manages to mix a disaster movie with an action picture but if you’re looking for Gary Daniels having multiple fight scenes you’ll be disappointed as he only has one. We do get a shoot-out during an earthquake which feels inconvenient; I’d maybe have waited until after the earthquake before shooting people but that’s just me.
There are lots of explosions and shoot-outs but also a spectacular car chase through San Francisco reminiscent of The Rock (which is lifted from Metro); also is it my imagination or did they steal footage from Speed for some of the elevator scenes too? They also reuse some other footage throughout showing the budget limitations.
Jeff Fahey makes every movie better and I enjoyed him as one of the villains but Daniela Nane was especially memorable as Tanya Semenov.
This movie has a surprising amount of full frontal nudity and sex which practically gives it a five star rating but it did feel a little out of place.
The music sounds dated and cheap now which is a shame as it was from Kevin Kiner who did the music to The Clone Wars and Demolition High.
Overall, Epicenter isn’t a great movie but it’s well paced and it’s fun to see Daniels, Lords and Fahey share the screen together. It has some decent set-pieces considering the budget and the chase through San Francisco is a highlight so if like me you love PM Entertainment films then you’ll enjoy this.