Main cast: Matthew Reese (Jack Stone), Chuck Liddell (Balam), Michael Flynn (District Attorney Johnson), DL Walker (Warden Blaine), Renny Grames (Trisha Sinclair), Danielle Chuchran (Alena), Eve Mauro (Allison), Melanie Stone (Kat), Michaela Chernoch (Rhiana), Amy Sturdivant (Kesha), Andrew W Johnson (Mark Crane), and Dolph Lundgren (William)
Director: John Lyde
Ah, this is the kind of B-grade bash ’em up that I like to watch. While Dolph Lundgren gets top billing in Riot, the hero is actually Jack Stone, played by Matthew Reese who also the executive producer of the movie. God bless him, he has worked hard to look the part. I wonder if this movie would have sold better if they had replaced Mr Lundgren’s geriatric mug with one of Mr Reese’s more photogenic moments in the movie.
Mr Reese plays Jack Stone, a cop whose poking into the affairs of the Russian mob boss Balam led to him and his wife getting gunned down at their home. The wife died, but Jack didn’t, and he’s now out for revenge. Shortly before the movie opens, he discovered that his partner was the snitch for Balam, and in the ensuing confrontation, the partner died and Jack was arrested for murdering a cop.
This was just the way Jack liked it, because Balam’s operation base is actually in the neighborhood prison. Balam has a cozy pad in the prison, thanks to his business arrangements with the corrupt politicians as well as the warden, and from here he runs his business – drug trafficking, etc. Getting into that same prison is the first step in Jack’s plan to kill that mob boss. It isn’t easy, but there is unexpected help from inside, as the FBI had planted two undercover agents – one the men’s block, one in the women’s, and both operatives see the value in assisting Jack in order to take down Balam’s organization. So – ding-ding – the stage is set for a prison rumble.
Oh, and Jack also mails all the hard evidence he’d found – lists of names, etc – to a reporter, Trisha Sinclair, but for some reason, Jack won’t explain what exactly is going on to her. Maybe being all mysterious even to someone who can help you is part of being a hot and sexy lone wolf, I suppose. So Trisha ends up running straight to the District Attorney with the information, and as you can guess, he’s on Balam’s payroll. Will she survive the whole thing?
Now, Riot is not a good movie, but then again, it is what it is: an unapologetic excuse to show people beating up one another. The plot is ludicrous, as are some of the twists here. I especially love how you can spray a bit of… chloroform, I think… into the air and some guy a few feet away will immediately pass out, while you, who isn’t wearing a gas mask or anything, can still remain conscious in the presence of such a powerful knock out chemical. Or that, for a prison, security is hilariously lax and the prison guards seem to be completely untrained, as anyone and everyone can take them down without breaking a sweat. Then again, can I expect more from a script written by a Spunky Dustin Ward?
Still, there is plenty of brainless fun to be had here, from girl on girl fights to people just beating the crap out of everybody else. And, of course, Matthew Reese is very easy on the eyes, especially when he is in or out of those white tees they make him wear in this movie. Even Dolph Lundgren doesn’t seem like he’s sedated to the gills here – he seems to be alive and having some fun here, imagine that. And, at the end of the day, the movie delivers what matters most: non-stop dumb fun, some eye candy, and a few shirtless scenes from the leading dude. The fake-looking blood, wooden acting, and silly script – ah, who cares, it’s all part of the B-grade movie package, and this one is just fun to watch if you know what to expect.