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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Retro Review: Back In Action (1993)

Back In Action
Cast: Roddy Piper, Billy Blanks, Bobbie Phillips, Kai Soremekun, Matt Burman, Nigel Bennett 
Genre: Action

Plot: Two men have different motivations but the same goal when they team up & mount an assault on a powerful drug gang

'The Newly Boys Are Back In Town'

Not long ago I reviewed the second Roddy Piper and Billy Blanks collaboration, Tough and Deadly, which came out in 1995 and was the second film starring this pairing. But it was 1993's Back In Action that kickstarted their onscreen buddy action movie partnership, despite how short-lived it was, and in most ways, it was entertaining. Although I felt the script here didn't quite gel with me as much as Tough and Deadly. I mean, I really enjoyed it - yet at the same time, it didn't resonate with me as much as I expected it to do like that movie.

Billy plays a character named, erm, Billy who is very protective of his sister, Tara who ends up falling for a mobster. He isn't too happy with this and goes out of his way to make sure this doesn't happen. Yet, and get this, their relationship in the movie or be it his relationship with her borders on, how can I say this, a little on the incest side. But thankfully, Billy doesn't make out with her - that would be not only beyond strange but gross as well. As for Roddy Piper, he is an undercover cop who is trying to bring down a druglord and the guy who slaughtered his partner & intends to get his revenge.

Blanks acts like he is has been drinking too much caffeine and his rage and insistence on seeing justice done his way has been turned up several notches and he lets rip with every flying kick and punch. & Blanks even does a somersault flip whilst firing 2 uzi machine guns at the same time. Yep, that is Billy Blanks for ya. He's like a rabid and athletic wolverine and gets to kick & closed fist punch a lot of baddies, such as the twin meatheads with mullets that they can be mistaken as members of Bon Jovi, who pounce on Billy in his apartment, in their faces. Piper, meanwhile, is probably the best wrestler/pro wrestler, who can act and deliver his lines like a pro actor and not overplay his roles. & he even managed to do a drop kick on one of the cronies and send him hurling to the ground. Which was nice to see. I also liked his character relationship with his reporter girlfriend, but I didn't care for Billy's sister, who added little to the film.

I actually liked the story in Tough and Deadly a bit more than in Back In Action; that and I prefer Billy Blanks in that movie than this one, even if he does kick a lot of ass in this effort and still, it didn't quite click. Both movies are similar and are virtually identical in many ways but for that, in Back In Action, it is Roddy Piper who as the lead vehicle dominates in most of the scenes and with Tough & Deadly, it's the other way round with Billy Blanks.

It's well-paced, the runtime is spot-on for this movie and the performances are very good from Piper and all right for Blanks.

Final Verdict:

Much like with Tough and Deadly, Back In Action is a hotbed of explosions, fight scenes and Billy and Roddy going all gung-ho in the action stakes and letting loose their ass-kicking heroics. The story still held up all the way. But I personally prefer Tough & Deadly, despite it being lauded as the weaker movie; I just enjoyed it a tad more in contrast to this one. 

Back In Action is still a ripe and entertaining onscreen duo debut for the then- WWF wrestler, Rowdy Roddy Piper, as well as martial artist turned actor, Billy Blanks.


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