Story: Nick (Gary Daniels) works for a prestigious tech firm, but he is about to come into some cash, as he plans to steal some blueprints and open his golden parachute. After a long, tedious process, he is able to bypass the security systems in place and download the top secret files, but before he can escape, he is caught by Agent Foster (Traci Lords), who was working undercover. Even her plan is foiled however, as just when things seem to have calmed down, an earthquake devastates the area and the two have to work together to survive the aftermath. But they’re not alone, as corrupt agents and ruthless arms dealers also want the blueprints…
Entertainment Value: Epicenter has a ridiculous start and takes a while to build some steam, but once the action kicks in, this is a fun b movie ride. I have no idea why the movie opens with a long, drawn out, and tedious sequence with Gary Daniels as a hacker, going through a series of dull motions, but it sets an odd tone that might induce some viewers to shut off the television. I had fun with the opening just because it was so needless and pointless, literally a two minute scene could have accomplished the same, so I got a few laughs from the decision. The last half of the movie however, is pretty much one extended, over the top action set pieces, with some brief, slower spots in between shots of the chaos. If you axed the open and tightened the pace in the first half, Epicenter could have been a wall to wall action epic, but there is still a lot of fun to be had here. Epicenter has shootouts, chases, and awkward conversations, not to mention Traci Lords in a terrible wig at one point. I mean, a building slowly collapses with b movie magic, people turn vent shafts into a water slide, and there’s a terrible, but memorable rap song over the closing credits, so what else could we ask? I should mentioned Epicenter repurposes several scenes from other, more famous movies, but such is the b movie world, right?
I have no idea why Jeff Fahey is the focus of all the marketing materials for Epicenter, but he has a small role in the movie and he is shown with a much different than he sports in the film, though the latter is likely a good choice. Fahey has a ridiculous look in the movie, as if a stock broker turned villain and thought a goatee would seal the deal. Gary Daniels is the lead here and action fans should appreciate that, though he does more talking than fighting or shooting here, despite the tidal wave of action in the second half. He handles all the action demands with ease, as expected, while his performance otherwise is well within the b movie fun zone. He’s stilted at times and over the top at other times, but it is fun to watch and in this case, that’s what matters. Traci Lords also has a prominent role and she is also quite fun as the police detective tasked to hunt down Daniels’ hacker. The cast also includes Hiro Kanagawa, Henry Beckman, and Katie Stuart.
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