Good ole fashion beat em up action movies are what used to make Hollywood fun and entertaining. However, these days, good action films are few and far between. While you can always get your fix with such films as Mission Impossible and John Wick which has distinguished themselves from the pack, it seems like the industry, by and large, has turned its nose to the old formula of adrenaline, masculinity, and one-liners. But fear not because where big budget films fail to meet the mark, small budget movies know their audience and the latest film starring Michael Jai White satisfies the hunger that old school action fans have been starving for.
The Hard Way begins with a local bar owner named Payne (White). After dispatching of a couple of thugs in his bar, he receives the unfortunate news that his brother was killed during a chase in an ongoing investigation. Turns out that Payne is former special forces who worked for a shadow organization lead by Briggs (Randy Couture). With the help of his brother’s former partner (Luke Goss), Payne must figure out the identity of the man responsible for this brother’s death and bring down his criminal organization in the process.
The Hard Way is the cheesy ass kicking joyride that is rarely seen in mainstream cinema anymore because it is actually fun to watch. Michael Jai White is funny, charismatic, and joy to watch him put hands on people. The film has a great supporting cast of characters led by Luke Goss and former MMA legend Randy Couture who mix it up pretty well adding great chemistry to the movie. The story isn’t dynamic, it is a pretty standard action film by all metrics. The motivations of the characters are vengeance and protection, just like anyone other movie but you aren’t going to care about that when guys are getting their ears ripped off of their head in hilarious fashion.
Critics of the genre will point out the cliches and believe me, they are all there. For audiences, however, if you are looking at being thoroughly entertained by a 90-minute thrill ride, The Hard Way is one of the best finds you will discover in the last few years.