I know I keep incessantly banging this drum, but '17 has been one hell of a year for action movies.
That trend continues with Alain Derochers' Security -- a siege picture play on Die Hard ('88) featuring Antonio Banderas back in full badass mode. Security's basic build up is incredibly simple: a little girl (Lillian Blankenship) set to testify against some organized crime types escapes after her witness protection convoy is raided by a group of mercs (led by Ben Kingsley, essentially doing his own version of Hans Gruber). Scurrying away, the pint-sized stool pigeon searches for anywhere to hide and comes upon a mall, taking shelter with a group of ragtag security guards working the night shift and equipped with nothing more than tasers to keep the bad guys at bay. This assault on Monroeville (or Bulgaria, standing in for an anonymous American suburb) becomes an all out war these grey-uniformed goofballs stand no chance of winning.
Enter Eddie Deacon (Banderas), a PTSD-addled vet who was just looking for a paycheck following his service, willing to take minimum wage as long as he's able to start banking some money so that he can finally make his way back to the wife and daughter he hasn't seen in ages. Banderas is a beaten man in Security; eyes hollowed, with a body that's still in great shape, but has certainly seen its best days come and go. When his case worker (Shari Watson) sets Eddie up as one of the rent-a-cops at the out of the way shopping palace, he's none too pleased with the cocky shift supervisor (Liam McIntyre), but who gives a shit? Captain Deacon's made it through multiple tours (which shows in his thousand yard stare). All he needs to do now is nod, say "yes sir", and collect his wage making the rounds in an empty food court.
The opening twenty minutes are silly preamble, introducing us to this squad of DTV Observe & Report ('09) Lite misfits -- while the next seventy become an equally absurd game of survival. Don't get it twisted, Security never sets out to be some grueling, gory stunt fest, like many Scott Adkins film (see: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning ['12]) evolve into. No, Derochers' movie is constantly fun, as this new team of department store guerilla warriors set traps throughout the different wings of the shopping center, offing a few invaders with hand tossed pipe bombs and stealing their heavy artillery. The entirety of Security is heightened in an almost cartoonish way, as a mere gunfight will give way to Banderas suddenly sliding on his back and blowing two dudes to smithereens with a pair of automatic pistols. He's really embracing Deacon being a post-War play on his old desperado persona, and its thrilling to watch him brood and kick ass again on screen.
On the other side of the weaponry, the mercenaries throw down with macho flair, especially UFC Contender/DTV Regular Cung Le (Dragon Eyes ['12]), who proves to be a bit more than what this old vet can handle at times. The moment Kingsley's terrorist commander gives the signal, Le is leaping down levels and tackling Banderas off an ATV, which the military man has already run through a series of plate glass windows (naturally). Their fisticuffs are thudding and brutal, focusing less on elaborate choreography than making you flinch each time a punch is landed to the head or gut. Like steel and metal accents to these thundering brawls, there are multiple instances of vehicular mayhem, where cars are flipped and tossed into one another with reckless abandon, all of it looking practically executed, with minimal CGI augmentation. At $15 million, Security is a relatively costly affair given its release platform, but you can see every single penny practically explode on screen.
Like many of these DTV endeavors, Security is comfort food for action fans, offering up a hearty ninety minutes of empty calorie entertainment that's never going to challenge you intellectually, but is a breezy ball to watch with a beer on a lazy Saturday night. The sight of Banderas really giving his all to this sort of corny genre fare is welcome, as is Kingsley's low-key hambone performance, as they make for great flipsides to a coin. The wanton destruction and numerous spent shell casings are clear indicators of the type of work we're dealing with. Derochers is a director who knows exactly what type of movie he's making, and what resources he has available in order to ensure fans are fat and happy come the final credits. If every director, big or small, possessed this same crowd pleasing sensibility, we'd have a hell of a lot more wildly diverting motion pictures on our hands.