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One in the Chamber

Relax, it's a blank.

Rod Lott August 16th, 2012

While it's safe to say Dolph Lundgren will never win an Academy Award, the Expendable's performance in One in the Chamber runs rings around his co-star who did. (To be fair, that Oscar winner is Cuba Gooding Jr., whose statuette the Academy likely wishes it could revoke, but still.)


Gooding is Ray Carver, a fixer who "solves" disputes between mob families. He also narrates from the start, so you know on whose side the movie stands; however, his softly spoken platitudes like "The past is the devil. You can't run from it. It's always behind you" put me squarely on the opposite side.

Meanwhile, Lundgren plays Aleksey "The Wolf" Andreev, who speaks softly and wears a silly hat — not to mention a Hawaiian shirt and matching white belt. His motto is, "I don't think. I simply do," and he likes to play chess, restore cars and, provided you pay him enough, "kill anything that breathes."

Carver is hired by both of Prague's two reigning/warring crime families to take down out key opponents on the other's team; Andreev is hired by one of those fams to take out Carver. The bosses sport names like Ivanov and Suverov, but they're all introduced so quickly — and with swooshing onscreen titles — damned if I could tell 'em apart. It leads to the inevitable, credibility-killing showdown that suggests pitting Gooding against Lundgren could be anyone's fight.
Chamber is directed by William Kaufman, whose NOLA-set Sinners and Saints was equally snot-slick, but empty and aimless. Yes, Virginia, action movies can be boring, and the generic, workmanlike touch at work here kept the film from gaining any favor with me, a die-hard Dolph fan. For a new Lundgren Blu-ray that won't leave your bloodlust all blue-balled, I instead direct you toward Red Scorpion. Yeah, it's nearly a quarter-century old, but few will remember Chamber 25 years from now, let alone 25 weeks. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
The Expendables: Extended Director's Cut Blu-ray review   
Red Scorpion Blu-ray review    
Sinners and Saints Blu-ray review    

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