Two badasses, a stack of cash, and less than twenty-four hours to make it out alive, Castle Falls pits Dolph Lundgren (who also serves as the film’s director) and Scott Adkins against a group of thugs who are out to find a stash of money hidden within an abandoned hospital that’s soon to be demolished. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, our heroes have only a few hours to make it out with the money and their lives. Will they beat the odds or will we find them buried within the rubble? In this review, we’ll be breaking down The Rad, The Bad, and The Final Takedown.
THE RAD: Castle Falls feels much more restrained and deliberately paced than one would expect, and it works! Mike Wade (Adkins), is a disgraced fighter who’s so broke that he’s forced to sleep in his pickup truck. Richard Ericson (Lundgren) is a prison guard trying to pay for his daughter’s cancer treatment. The film does a good job of establishing the characters’ motivations which results in the action feeling much more personal and engrossing.
THE BAD: Intercut with the action are scenes of the city’s mayor and townspeople preparing for the demolition of the abandoned hospital, but these scenes show up at random moments in the film and don’t feel organic to the film’s pace. The first half of the film does an excellent job at setting up the characters and their motivations, but the ticking clock element of the second half is clumsy and does not effectively raise the stakes.
Along with the lack of urgency, the villains also pose no real threat to our heroes. Scott Hunter plays Deacon Glass, the big bad of the film, but unfortunately he’s about as memorable as a one-night stand. Hunter has the chops to be an intimidating villain, but the character is underwritten and is too generic to ever be taken seriously. None of his henchmen are memorable either, and they serve no other purpose than to be cannon fodder. The final fight sequence between Glass and Wade is visually impressive, but ultimately lacks any real dramatic tension.
BEST ACTION SEQUENCE: The fight between Lundgren and Adkins is delightful! What’s instantly noteworthy about this sequence is how well Lundgren and Adkins play off each other. While it’s apparent that Adkins is more agile and spry, Lundgren proves that he’s still capable as a physical performer. This sequence is reminiscent of the Roddy Piper/Keith David fight in They Live. Watching our heroes duke it out before they must ultimately work together is a highlight for any action fan.
THE FINAL TAKEDOWN: Castle Falls is a solid action film that, while not particularly memorable, provides just enough drama and thrills to keep you entertained for an hour and a half. The film’s pace will either keep you on the edge of your seat or will have you sinking into the couch, but once the action starts, it’ll lock you in. Lundgren might not have the style or technique of other top tier action directors, but he brings an authenticity that is present within every frame. Castle Falls is a fun, low budget, thriller; if you’re looking for an easily digestible action film, this will satisfy your craving.