REVIEW: DAMAGE

CAST

Steve Austin (The Condemned)
Walton Goggins (Django Unchained)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Lynda Boyd (sanctuary)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)
Adrian Holmes (Arrow)

Released on parole after serving four of seven years in prison for second degree manslaughter, John Brickner (Steve Austin) moves to Seattle, where he gets a job as a construction worker during the day and a bouncer at a bar at night. One day, after work, he meets up with Veronica Reynolds (Lynda Boyd), the widow of the man he killed in self-defense. It is revealed that she petitioned to have John released on parole following numerous apology letters he had written to her over the years. She also tells him that her eight-year-old daughter Sarah (Katelyn Mager) is in need of a heart transplant, and he should be the one to cover the US$250,000 operation.With the help of bar waitress Frankie (Laura Vandervoort), John locates fight promoter Reno Paulsaint (Walton Goggins), whom he had initially rejected a job offer. When he realizes that the job is in the world of underground fighting, he once again declines the offer, despite Reno telling him he can score six figure earnings in the business. The next day, he is fired from his construction work, but he saves his boss from a heart attack. Later that night, he decides to enter the fighting tournament, defeating his first opponent. John continues to fight for Reno and Frankie and rise up in the ranks and earning thousands. It turns out, however, that Reno owes a syndicate over US$150,000 and must pay them within a week, or they will hurt Frankie whom he had covered for the debt.After winning a gruelling fight, John rushes Veronica to the hospital after discovering her unconscious in her apartment, having slit her wrists after receiving a notice that an organ donor supplier has denied her request for a donor heart. During a fight, he defeats his opponent, but forfeits the match when he realizes that it is to the death. This results in Reno losing his wager and being roughed up by the syndicate. The next day, John is picked up by a tycoon named Veltz (William B. Davis), who turns out to be the owner of his former job. As a token of gratitude for saving his son-in-law’s life from a heart attack, Veltz offers to cover John’s US$150,000 wager for the main event or to clear Reno’s debt. John chooses to clear Reno’s debt.The next night, John faces and defeats the defending champion Wendell Timmons (Tony Bailey). It is revealed that the Deacon (Donnelly Rhodes), a friend of Reno, covered his stake in the fight. In the end, John covers the payment for Sarah’s heart transplant while Reno offers him another deal. This is a half decent movie let down by fight choreography that lacks realism, and editing which tries to disguise these failings with fast cuts away from the action. The story and script is okay, nothing especially original but sometimes it’s best to stick with what works when it comes to the fight genre; but in fairness it does have a stab at creating a serious plot to give reason to the violence and this does come through as the film progresses. The fights are made interesting by a number of unconventional backdrops including a ring of savage dogs! Steve Austen is quite sincere in his role, creating a character the viewer roots for. This is much better than most direct to dvd action movies.

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