I know I'm not supposed to expect much from direct-to-video movies starring washed-up WWE wrestlers, but I think it's okay to expect that the screenwriter has a longer attention span than a goldfish. Seriously, am I asking too much? Even though I loathe the excuse, "Well, such-and-such movie isn't going for an Oscar or anything," I must admit that 'Tactical Force' fits that bill. However, this movie isn't just shooting lower than the Oscars, it's shooting so low that one wonders if it was aiming at the ground – and somehow missed that.
It isn't the ridiculous one-liners from Stone Cold Steve Austin that really get to me (even though every time he says some macho tough guy line you picture him crushing two beer cans in his hands afterward). It isn't the phony-baloney acting going on by everyone on screen. Acting like it's the first time they've ever been on camera in their entire lives. I've come to expect the dregs of acting when watching these low-budget DTV movies. It isn't even the generic plot about an all-important case containing an all-important object that makes me hate this movie so bad. It's the fact that director/writer Adamo P. Cultraro thinks we're all complete and utter morons. The movie experience he's crafted is like going to McDonald's – you're not really expecting much, just something filling – and when your food comes out it's actually just a big pile of crap. You weren't expecting a nice porterhouse steak, but you were expecting something somewhat edible. More on this in a minute.
Let's get the formalities out of the way first. Tate (Austin) leads a team of macho SWAT members who are far too cool to listen to the rules. After getting in trouble during the breach of a supermarket where hostages were being held, the team is put on suspension and ordered to carry out training exercises until they learn how to behave. You can tell the actors' only direction in this movie was to act "douchey" or something to that effect. They roll their eyes at authority, chuckle when they're being told off, and make snide remarks whenever possible. They set up a training exercise at an abandoned warehouse, where coincidentally two rival gangs have met up to procure a special case that everyone wants. Only one man knows where the case is. His name is Kenny.
Okay, you've been warned. From here on out it's spoilersville. If, by some wild reason, you were wanting to add this movie to your collection stop reading now so I don't ruin the most preposterous, most moronic movie ending I've seen in quite a long time.
It's pretty easy to pin-point Kenny as being an undercover cop. You know that this movie is going to throw something at you in the end to make you think that it's smarter than it really is. The only problem is there is a point in the movie where Kenny is shot, point-blank in the head. It's a close-up shot with blood splatter and everything. When Kenny walks in unharmed at the end, sporting a badge, the SWAT team members are dumbfounded. They keep saying, "But, I saw you die!" To which Kenny responds, "Did you?" Apparently this is Cultraro's way of explaining away the movie's biggest plothole (and there are of many). The characters stand there in amazement, like they never actually knew this was in the script and were caught totally off guard, just like us. The looks on their faces give it away. There's absolutely no way that could have been "faked." How Cultraro doesn't know this is beyond me. You can't show a main character get capped in the head at point-blank range, have brain and blood matter spurt out the back of his head, and then bring him in at the end with a big "gotcha" reveal. It doesn't work like that. You can't just stop playing by the rules. It's like a slap in the face to your audience (of half a dozen).
The movie is stupid by any measure of cinema, but the fact that it's so stupid that it doesn't understand the difference between life and death, and on top of that expects the audience to swallow it when the character says something brainless like, "Maybe you just saw what I wanted you to see," makes this so-called movie a dismal DTV disaster. A movie that shouldn't exist. A movie that for some reason is so brain-dead that it didn't realize how idiotic it was being.
I hate you 'Tactical Force.' I really, really do.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Vivendi brings 'Tactical Force' to Blu-ray on a 25GB Blu-ray disc, housed in a standard blue keepcase. There is also a slipcover provided with the same artwork as the case.
For a DTV movie 'Tactical Force' looks quite good, but still suffers under the weight of low production values and digital flatness. Blacks aren't as strong as they could be. They drag down shapes and detail, especially in low lit situations. Daylight scenes are fine though, full of detail.
Fine detail in textures and faces is clearly visible much of the time. Colors are bright, when the movie actually calls for colors. Most of the movie is bathed in a gray-blue light. The clown masks at the beginning offer a bit of color to pop off the screen, but when they find their way to the warehouse, drab colors reign supreme.
'Tactical Force' actually doesn't look half bad. For a low-budget flick like this it actually looks rather well done. If you can get over the phony digital feel of it – it feels much more like an underfunded TV show rather than a movie – then you'll most likely like this transfer. Well, that is if you can actually stomach the movie you're watching.
'Tactical Force' has a fairly lively 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, but it suffers from the same aspects that the video suffers from. It just isn't all that engaging to begin with.
Dialogue is clear and intelligible, but with the low-budget comes some sound issues like needless echoing in the warehouse scenes. That really isn't a problem with the Blu-ray, but with the actual source recordings. Panning and directionality work smoothly when they're used. LFE kicks in every so often to thump to the beat of the soundtrack or to rumble the subwoofer with an explosion.
It's got all the requisite sound effects for an action movie – landing punches, whizzing bullets, yelling Russians – but, there's nothing here that really pushes it into the upper echelon of audio presentations. Nothing here that will make you remember it forever. It's bland, but effective.
I don't have a clue why they keep making these DTV movies with washed up wrestlers. Someone has to be buying them right? Who? Who is buying these movies?! We need to tell them to stop! This is mostly a selfish reason though. It's just because I don't want to have to watch anymore of them. Yes, I'm being selfish, but when it comes to watching Stone Cold Steve Austin actually fight off a gang of armed men with nothing more than pro wrestling moves I tend to zone out. Skip it.