There’s a moment in a car chase in the third act of the idiotic action thriller “Section 8” when we see Dermot Mulroney, as one of the heavies, push his SUV to the limit to the sounds of Bach’s Cello Suite in G. And I’m so tuned-out of this convoluted, over-cast nonsense that I think, “Wait, is that Dermot Mulroney PLAYING the cello there? Bach, in the middle of a car chase?”
The mind does these things to distract itself from such an affront to the senses, and common sense.
If it was Mr. Mulroney sawing away with the bow, let me just say “Well done!” As for the movie, well…
“Section 8” begins in Afghanistan, where an Special Forces Col. (Dolph Lundren) saves one of his men (Ryan Kwanten) in an ambush, and loses part of a leg in the process.
It jumps to “five years later” when that combat survivor, Jake, is scraping by working at Earl’s garage in working class Riverside, California. Jake interrupts a Latino gang attempting a shakedown of Earl one day, and Earl has barely finished his borderline racist “in their culture” defense of the hooligans when Jake’s family is massacred.
Jake massacres back, finds himself in prison, resigned to spend the rest of his life there for wiping out five gangsters. A visit from his old Col. doesn’t help. An approach from a mysterious “not the CIA” special “team” leader (Mulroney) falls on deaf ears, too.
Next thing Jake knows, he’s being beaten in his cell, drugged and kidnapped and enrolled in “Section 8,” an acquisition and assassination squad that kills people on American soil.
After his hazing induction, Jake “hesitates” one time too many — this time from killing a fascist-leaning state senator — he becomes the target himself. Teammates Liza (Tracy Perez) and Ajax (Justin Furstenfeld) won’t help. The boss, Ramsey (Mulroney) might even call in the killer’s killer, the Brit Locke (Brit martial arts action star Scott Adkins).
“He isn’t burdened by weaknesses like remorse and guilt.”
Who can Jake trust? Who can he best in a fight or a shoot out? Where can he run to?
The movie loses track of its most charismatic man-of-action, Adkins, for much of its length. We’re treated to chatty scenes with Lundgren, Rourke and Mulroney, and the occasional shoot-out set-piece that usually devolves into a fist and foot and knife fight.
It doesn’t hang together very well pretty much from the start. But by the third act, this messy mayhem goes right off the rails, as if there were rails it was following in the first place.
The acting is better than the script, but that’s not saying much. The picture’s politics are sketchy and kind of fascist-friendly, in that these guys are members of an extrajudicial murder squad that goes after a blatant “Senator Graham” MAGA type.
There’s one good fight. And one terrible chase. And there’s a grand little piece of cello music backing a seriously that chase. Otherwise, this is pretty much an embarrassment for most involved.
Rating: unrated, lots and lots of violence
Cast: Ryan Kwanten, Dolph Lundgren, Tracy Perez, Mickey Rourke and Scott Adkins
Credits: Directed by Christian Sesma, scripted by Chad Law and Josh Ridgway. An RLJE release.
Running time: 1:38