Direct Contact (2009)


Mike Riggins is an American ex-special forces officer, locked up in a prison in The Balkans for smuggling weapons. Clive Connelly (Michael Paré) offers him his freedom and $200,000 if he rescues a captured American woman called Ana Gale (Gina May). Connelly claims to work for the American embassy and says the woman has been kidnapped and held against her will. However, when Riggins gets to her, she doesn’t want to leave. It turns out that Connelly lied about the kidnapping and it was a ruse just to get Riggins to break her out.

It is revealed that Ana is the daughter of a billionaire oil tycoon who has died recently and left the company to her. Her uncle has sent Connelly and his men after her to make her sign the share transfer deeds so he can gain control of the business. Riggins tries to protect her and deliver her safely to the American embassy, as they are hunted across the country.

Dolph Lundgren plays Mike Riggins, and the 53-year-old Swede still looks in control of a leading action-hero role. However, over the years he has often fallen into the predictable direct-to-DVD action films with the generic titles that seem to have been randomly generated. Direct Contact is mired by a formulaic script and a low budget. Mike Riggins goes on the run, fights lots of men, saves the day and sleeps with the girl. Ana is a stereotypical woman in an action film who spends most of the time screaming, needing to be rescued and falling for the leading man.

There are shootouts, fights, explosions and car chases. The chase scenes feature swirling cameras and speeded up footage, and they didn’t seem thought through and planned well enough, as if the camera techniques were used to disguise the lack of choreography and focus, and the many chases are just padding out the film.

It also seems to take short-cuts rather than developing the characters and the plot. The General and his men who work for Connelly are presented to the audience as obviously evil because they constantly shoot nearly every poor, unarmed civilian in their way. There is no explanation for this, they just seem unnecessarily horrible.

The director and producer, Danny Lerner, is an Israeli-born filmmaker who has produced over 80 films including The Mechanic (2011) and Conan the Barbarian (2011). In 2003 he founded Tosca Pictures with his long-time friend and collaborator Les Weldon, who co-wrote Direct Contact with Lerner and is credited with the screenplay.

This film is uninspiring and generic, and at times it feels like you’ve seen it all before (some of the scenes feature stock library footage that has been edited in from other movies). The cast seem uninterested and the direction is flat, with no sense of excitement. The film is loaded with action but fans of Dolph Lundgren’s films, and action films in general, are likely to be disappointed with Direct Contact’s lack of energy and enthusiasm.

Director: Danny Lerner
Stars: Dolph Lundgren, Gina May, Michael Paré
Runtime: 90 min
Country: USA, Germany

Film Rating: ★½☆☆☆

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