80 Min | Action – Crime – Drama | August 2008
IMDB Rating: 5.3
Director: Bradford May
Starring: Johnny Messner, Jonathan Chase, Esteban Cueto
Ring of Death Review: Ring of Death starts as disgraced ex cop Burke Wyatt (Johnny Messner) is approached by his ex partner Rapper (Jawara) who now works for the FBI and has a deal for Burke, in exchange for Burke going undercover Rapper says that the FBI are willing to set up a trust fund for his young son and give him a job. Burke agrees and Rapper briefs him, Burke has to go undercover into Cainsville state prison which the FBI are investigating due to the high fatality rate there. Burke will go undercover and be treated like any other inmate, Burke has been chosen because he is an ex marine fighter and the FBI suspect that Golan (Stacy Keach) the corrupt warden is staging illegal fights between the inmates and broadcasting them online and making a mint from the frenzied betting. Burke is alone once he gets to Cainsville and must survive the other inmates who take a dislike to him as well as the sadistic warden and the vicious prison guards while taking part in the fighting tournament.
Directed by Bradford May this made for television action thriller apparently had the working title Death Match and was actually a lot better than expected it to be, don’t get me wrong as Ring of Death is no masterpiece but for what it is and what it sets out to be this ain’t half bad. The script is a collection of over used ideas and clichés like the ex cop hero, an undercover agent going into prison to infiltrate criminal activity, a corrupt warden and vicious guard’s, the underground fighting tournament, the online broadcast for huge profit and the one super fighter who the good guy must fight in order to win. The script is fairly predictable, it holds no great surprises but at a brisk eighty odd minutes it keeps moving along at a decent pace, there’s just enough fighting and just enough character development and plot to make it worthwhile and give the character’s some life and personality.
Probably shot on a low budget Ring of Death actually looks rather nice. The acting is alright, no-one is going to win any awards but no-one embarrasses themselves either. Veteran actor Stacy Keach looks rather flabby and bored and we never find out why he has a bad eye. Ring of Death was much better than expected, it has good production values and surprisingly good fight scenes which are very violent and bloody if a little short. A solid, if predictable, plot and a reasonable cast also help make Ring of Death worth a watch.