What went right, and wrong, with WELCOME TO SUDDEN DEATH?

Michael Jai White is one of the best action movie stars, period. I put him up there with Jason Statham and Scott Adkins.

His fight scenes are always inventive, and he’s simply fun to watch whether it’s a straight thriller like BLOOD AND BONE or a comedy like BLACK DYNAMITE.

So what felt off about WELCOME TO SUDDEN DEATH, which is a sort-of sequel to a Jean Claude Van Damme movie with the same premise: DIE HARD in a sports arena.

Check out the trailer before the customary smack talking begins.

The Good

There are good fight scenes in this movie, and Michael Jai White is totally likeable in here, as usual. There’s also good comic relief his cowardly sidekick, another arena employee who is super reluctant to take on a bunch of professional bad guys.

The Bad

Something seems off through the whole movie.

It looks fake–too well-lit, too in-focus. Maybe they shot it with some kind of cutting-edge 4k camera and we’re used to some film grain. Dunno. Worth thinking about, seeing how I remember they had the same sort of problem with THE HOBBIT movies being shot in 60 fps or whatever.

Compare that first trailer to a scene from probably the best Michael Jai White movie of all time, BLOOD AND BONE.

Notice how the camera moves, how it puts certain characters in focus while blurring the background, and how things don’t seem perfect without being clunky?

It just feels more real. Like you’re somebody in the crowd watching the action.

The Ugly

The other thing that bugged me was the villain, who was a little too jittery and on-the-nose with his dialogue to be truly scary. One of his minions, a fighter with a shaved head who said hardly anything, actually was super scary. Make that guy your baddie and we’ve got a better movie.

VERDICT

But hey, things to quibble with in a movie during the global zombie apocalypse are far less important than the only question that matters: Should you fire up the Series of Tubes and watch it?

Yes. Anything starring Michael Jai White is basically (a) Watchable, (b) A Popcorn Fest, or (c) So Knowingly Bad It Circles Back to Good.

It’s a cheesy action movie, not two hours of a black-and-white French existentialism flick that you talk about with your bestie until the sun comes up at Denny’s and the waitress gets sick of you drinking endless coffee and ordering your fifth side of fries because it’s been five hours and she knows you’re a starving college student or starving artist/writer type and the tip is going to be a joke.

Fire it up and watch this thing. Then watch BLOOD AND BONE for the first time, or the second, before closing your eyes later this week and picking a Michael Jai White movie totally at random, as required by law.

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