7 Seconds (2005) – Review

3 Stars

Wesley Snipes seemed destined for super stardom in the early 1990s and yet it never happened. Sure he was in some big movies and gave great performances in others, but somehow it feels like he never truly achieved the status of international icon that he was most assuredly headed for. At the very least he paved the way for the likes of Will Smith. In 2004 Snipes began badmouthing Hollywood and (unsuccessfully) attempted to sue New Line Studio over the brouhaha known as Blade Trinity. The man was poison in the town.

Unfortunately the tide had turned against the once bankable actor and when the executives ganged up to blacklist Snipes from the system he was relegated to making cheap action films in Romania. The kind of movies that have limited theatrical releases worldwide but are dumped straight-to-DVD here in the states. That 7 Seconds is a success is partially do to the star-power Snipes brings to the project and also because of a good script that plays with linear narrative storytelling. Director Simon Fellows has fashioned an enjoyable b-movie that is action packed and furiously paced while never betraying the lower budget that surely accompanied this production.

Snipes plays Jack Tulliver, a former Delta Force commando turned armed robber, heading an outrageous plan to jack a fleet of armored cars carrying the bank drops from three large casino. Things go terribly wrong for Tulliver and his men when they are then hijacked by an opposing gang of thieves. The opening 20 minutes of the film is almost entirely dedicated to the heist and ensuing shootout and chase. It’s a fantastic opening, especially considering some of the under whelming DTV trash Snipes has appeared in. During Tulliver’s getaway he takes an off duty female NATO police officer hostage. That may sound intense but it’s the kind of kidnapping that only happens in movies, full of flirting and begrudging respect. After escaping successfully with a valuable Van Gogh painting stowed away in a metal brief case, Tulliver drops the attractive woman off and from there on they have a strange relationship in which they call each other and attempt to play cat and mouse even though it comes off more as childish posturing. Maybe only Pierce Brosnan can pull off that particular note, I don’t know.

There are a few vivid characters throughout. Deobia Oparei is amusing in a bit part as a English born African that may or may not be a turncoat. I particularly liked the Russian gangster with a nerve disorder that forces tremors, watching him try to eat peas off a fork and later attempt to shoot a still target is hysterical. That’s the most surprising thing I can say about the film. It has an underlying sense of humor. It wants to be a breezy heist flick in the vain of Ocean’s Eleven or The Thomas Crown Affair yet every so often a sneaky humorous moment pops up and threatens to turn the whole enterprise into a farce.

Those passages are almost always broken by long well staged action sequences usually involving machine guns. I lost count of how many panes of glass were shot in this film, but it may set a record in the b-movie action world. The company that had the commission from the sales of sugar-glass surely made a fortune from this flick. 7 Seconds is a cut above the norm for this genre and a distinguished entry into the Snipes Cannon of DTV or otherwise.

Director: Simon Fellows
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Tamzin Outhwaite, Deobia Oparei

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