Only those still obsessively watching videocassettes of their favorite 80’s and 90s era B movie actioners will find anything of interest in showdown in manila. And even they may decide that nostalgia has its limits when it comes to mark dacascos directorial debut starring co-starring alexander nevsky and casper van dien. A mishmash of action movie and buddy cop cliches rendered in incompetent fashion this wink homage to 1991s showdown in little tokyo makes its inspiration seem like a classic.
Nevsky like arnold schwarzendgger is a three time winner of the Mr. universe contest. But while he possesses a similarly impressive physique he has absolutely zero charisma compared to arnold. Nevsky plays nick peyton a cop who in the opening sequences leads his fellow officers in a raid on a drug kingpin knwon as the wraith cary hiroyuki tagawa that results in numerous casualties and nick getting shot and suspended from the force.
Cut to two years later when nick is now aprivate investigator partnered with charlie van dien whose wisecracking bonhomie is clearly meant to strongly contrast with nick stone faced monosyllabic demeanor. They get involved in a case involving the widow tia carrere another blast from the past of an FBI agent dacascos killed on the wraiths orders. It all leads to another raid this time on the criminal mastermind jungle hideway led by an expendables style assemblage of such mature B list action martial arts stars as don the dragon wilson oliviver gruner and cynthia rockrock suffice it to say that not all of them have aged well.
Although composed of nearly non stop action sequences set in alternately gritty and picturesque locations showdown in manila somehow manages to be terminally boring. Dacascos displays no flair for staging cinematic violent mayhem despite his extensive acting and stunt credits in such fare. The shootouts resemble the sight of kids playing cops and robbers on the playground the CGI explosions wouldnt pass muster in a videogame and the hand to hand combat makes WWE bouts look realistic.
But the endless action at least provides a respite from the godawful dialogue which mostly features variations on the phrase lets kick some ass here one memorable exchange between nevsky and a supporting players hurt no you no. At one point and this is true an explosive device suddenly appears and nevsky actually says bang bang not that the hulking actor could handle much more. But since the publicity materials mention that he represents russia as a member of the hollywood foreign press association he may well be up for a golden globe next year.
Showdown in Manila such againg B movie favorites as oliver gruner don the dragon wilson and cynthia rothrock,