High Voltage (1997) – Review

3 1/2 Stars

Its bad guys against badder guys in the high-spirited action orgy, High Voltage. Johnny Clay (Antonio Sabato, Jr.) and his band of thieves rob a bank owned by the Vietnamese mafia, thus inadvertently setting in motion a plot in which the robbers are on the run from gangsters. Isaac Florentine is the ace behind the camera, while this is still among his early work the man’s talent shines through in every scene. Working from (what appears to be) a minuscule budget, Florentine and his collaborators have crated a supremely satisfying low-brow feast of kicks, gunplay, and explosions. All highlighted by John Woo-esque camera pans and whips. High Voltage is entertaining enough for the late night crowd and good enough to attract the attention of those not usually accustomed to this fare.

One of the more startling aspects of this low budget production is the presence of such a recognizable cast, Sabato, Jr., Amy Smart, James Lew, William Zebka and Lochlyn Monro. Each does a good job, working with an anemic script and story, to establish themselves as individuals in this thin tale. The running time is listed at 90 minutes, but the screenplay must have only been about 60 pages, there is a tremendous amount of filler here. It is a good thing than that Florentine is such a skilled technician at finding unique moments in the midst of unambitious writing.

Anyone familiar with the releasing label A-Pix will instantly recognize exactly what kind of experience they are in for. Those that may have only seen the most astute films in the Florentine cannon (Undisputed 3, Ninja), are implored to catch this early gem in the mantle of one of todays’ best action directors.

Director: Isaac Florentine
Stars: Antonio Sabato, Jr., Shannon Lee, Amy Smart

One thought on “High Voltage (1997) – Review”

  1. In 2005, Smart starred as Sarah in a British independent film called The Best Man. Seth Green was her co-star. She also appeared in the 2006 film Crank, portraying the girlfriend of the lead character, Chev Chelios (played by Jason Statham). She reprised the role in the sequel, Crank: High Voltage, released in 2009.,

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