Dir: Hans Herbots
Star: Kevin Janssens, Veerle Baetens, Axel Daeseleire, Tine Reymer

I just don't know what MTI are up to here; I mean, was the original title of this Belgian action-drama so bad? What was wrong with Windkracht 10: Koksijde Rescue? Er, okay: moving rapidly on. This feels as if it's Top Gun with helicopters, not least because lead Janssens looks more than a tad like Tom Cruise. He plays wild-card diver Rick Symons, a man with undoubted talents, but one has been through almost every division in his armed forces career, a result of his distinctly unmilitary attitude. He ends up with a search and rescue outfit, where he crosses paths again with Alex (Baetens), whom he left half-stripped and tied to a tree during a previous exercise, and is none too pleased to be teamed with Rick. There's also his friend Koen (Daeseleire), confined to a wheelchair due to a previous incident which may or may not have been Rick's fault. Rick has to come to terms with all these elements from his past, and also prove himself to the rest of his colleagues.

It makes some sense when I read this was a spin-off from a Belgian TV series, as the opening hour in particular feels more like a soap opera than anything else. It's pretty leisurely, with a few minor incidents, but is mostly about establishing the characters and their relationships than high-octane action - and takes its own sweet time to do so too. However, there are two beautifully-staged rescue sequences in the second-half, which seriously amp up the energy in the movie, and are as good as anything you'll see in a blockbuster with twenty times the budget. Shame the movie took so long to reach them, and it needs a much better plot-thread running throughout, to drive the narrative, rather than something leftover and warmed up from daytime TV. Credit to MTI for putting out the DVD with a subtitled option, though since the preview disc was dubbed only, I can't comment beyond that: we were left wondering why a lot of the Belgians appeared to have Irish accents...

[The DVD was released by MTI Home Video on March 10th, and is widescreen with, as noted, the option for English or original-language dialog. Nothing in the way of special features beyond that, however. For more information, visit the MTI website.]

March 2009

Air-raising stuff
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