Plot: Detective Thompson (Dolph Ziggler) is not the kind of cop who goes by the book, an approach that lands him in trouble more often than not. When an undercover bust looks like it might go sideways, Thompson improvises and wounds his own partner, in order to keep his cover intact. Of course while this helps with the case, his superiors are none too pleased and Lieutenant Cronin (Kane) is especially hot under the collar, tired of Thompson’s loose cannon tactics. He winds up suspended, but he doesn’t stay benched long, as a new case requires his unique skill set. A video sent to the police shows a bomb attached to a young boy and whoever is responsible knows Thompson, as he is haunted by the loss of his son. As time ticks away, can Thompson beat the clock and save the boy’s life?
Entertainment Value: Countdown is a passable lower tier action movie, but it isn’t the colorful, over the top b movie it seemed like it might be. The narrative borrows from other action movies of course, but works well enough, I just wish it took more risks or went for broke a little more often. I mean, with a fun lead like Dolph Ziggler, this could have been a wild ride packed with one liners, b movie cheese, and low rent set pieces, but instead, it settles for a much more forgettable approach. A spark of the potential shines through when the characters visit a WWE event, which leads to some fun moments, but it is a shame the rest of the movie doesn’t operate at that level, as that would have been a good time. Countdown is by no means bad however, it is just kind of there and doesn’t do much to stand out as good or bad. I’d rather have seen the movie take some chances and fall flat, just to spike the potential entertainment, but it plays it safe throughout. So even for direct to video action devotees, Countdown isn’t one that earns much of a recommendation.
I can’t resist these b action movies with WWE superstars in the leads, no matter how many times I’ve been burned. But to fair, I have to see any movie where Kane plays a paper pushing desk police Lieutenant, so I had to see Countdown, regardless. I think his scenes here are hilarious, mostly because its such an odd role to see Kane in, but he goes over the top and super dramatic in his performance, which adds to the fun. He has a decent amount of screen time, but I wish he had more, as he is an interesting casting choice here. The actual lead belongs to Dolph Ziggler, who has the look and natural charm this kind of snarky action hero needs, but isn’t quite as much fun as I expected. He’s passable, but doesn’t turn up the charisma or channel the b movie action hero vibes like I hoped, instead taking a basic, but terrible approach that isn’t all that memorable. The best performance is from Katharine Isabelle, as she brings a lot of attitude and seems to run with the b movie elements a little more. Behind the camera for Countdown is veteran actor & director John Stockwell.