Extreme Heist (1999)

Rating: *(*)
Review Date: 5/10/14
Director: Koichi Sakamoto, Makoto Yokoyama
Cast: Johnny Yong Bosch, Jason Narvy, Motoko Nagino, Michael Hexum, George Cheung

This super low budget film is little more than an action showcase for Johnny Yong Bosch and the folks at Alpha Stunts. Billy Ray (Johnny Yong Bosch) and Guile (Jason Narvy) are small time thieves who are always on the lookout for that one big score that will set them up for life. Guile is the brains, while Billy Ray is an adrenaline junky who does all of the dangerous stuff. They end up in a lot of trouble when they stumble upon an FBI sting operation and unwittingly steal some valuable banking access codes. The bad guys want the codes back, and so does undercover FBI agent Kim Matsuda (Motoko Nagino). The majority of the film is one big chase as Billy Ray and Guile try to outwit everyone and stay alive long enough to cash in on the codes.

Admittedly, it's a pretty terrible film. The story is weak, the plot makes little sense, the characters are shallow and uninteresting, the acting is poor, the dialog is embarrassingly awful, the music is bland, and the shot-on-video production values are low. But, if you're a fan of flashy martial arts action and hard hitting stuntwork, there's a lot of good stuff on display (hence the optional 2-star rating). Johnny Yong Bosch is an excellent athlete and physical performer, and he's a total treat to watch. Some of his moves are overly exaggerated (akin to his work in "Power Rangers"), but he's definitely the real deal and he flows with effortless grace. Michael Hexum is an excellent villain to match skills against, and he has good screen presence. Motoko Nagino also has some tricks up her sleeves and gets into a few nice fights as well. Unfortunately, the film plays up her feminine charms in a gratuitously cringe-worthy fashion. Overall, if you're a fan of Alpha Stunts and their brand of Hong Kong styled action, you know what you're getting into and will likely find something to enjoy about the film. Otherwise, it can be painfully tedious to watch.