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THE STRANGER
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Reviewed by: Mike Catalano

Directed by: Robert Lieberman

Starring:
Steve Austin
Erica Cerra
Adam Beach

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Deep cover operative, Steve Austin, has lost his memory due to a traumatic (and violent) event. Now, he's on the run from the CIA and some bad guys with guns until his mind clicks back into "recall mode".

Is it good movie?
Well, I will say this: Steve Austin definitely does have enough ability and brute strength to succeed as a movie action hero. His towering frame and charismatic, down-home drawl suit him well in the titular role of THE STRANGER. What sets him apart from the countless other weight-lifting lunk-heads out there attempting to make it in the action flick biz may surprise you - it's his capability of showcasing his softer side once in a while. If judging Austin on his look alone, you'd probably never think of him flashing a warm smile at a six year-old girl. Yet, the dude does and it adds the small, but neccessary character trait that fully defines what a true action hero is. It makes you root for him even more.

I'm not saying that THE STRANGER is anything more than a direct-to-DVD shoot-'em-up offering, but at least it's got a cool bad-ass as the star. I just wish that the fight and guns-blazing set pieces were handled with a little more style. Austin is such a huge guy and the camera seemed to be shooting a little too close when he was kicking ass. It just seemed awkward.

Another thing that kind of bothered me was the constant bombardment of flashbacks of mostly the same stuff. I get that the dude lost his memory and that some things can trigger whatever's been blocked out of his head, but I don't need to be reminded of this every five minutes as if I lost my own memory while watching the flick!

And now, I hate to report that THE STRANGER suffers from the cardinal action movie sin (in my book). I call it the "Wow, those dudes must be really shitty shooters" syndrome. What I mean is, Steve Austin is hit with a ridiculous amount of gun fire in this flick. Well, maybe "hit" is a poor choice of words because he ain't hit at all! You've got bad guys firing handguns and machine guns at him at an excessive rate, yet somehow, he's able to dodge every single bullet! I know he's tough. I know he's athletic, buy holy shit, he must be a friggin' wizard to avoid getting shot as many times in this movie as he does! And most of the people shooting at him are FBI guys. Aren't they supposed to be trained to hit targets, especially at close range?

I guess I can applaud THE STRANGER for attempting to weave some sort of plot of mystery around all the action. It just wasn't anything new or exciting and everything became pretty convoluted towards the end where a great deal of "explanation" flashbacks began taking place. At least Austin exuded bad-ass-ness through it all.

Video / Audio
Video Widescreen 2.35:1

Audio English 5.1 Dolby Digital

The Extras
A very fast Behind the Scenes featurette mostly only details one semi-major fight scene. It was cool hearing Austin comment on all the technical aspects involved, but the running time was pretty short.

The flick's Trailer.

Last Call
A typical straight-to-DVD action yarn that was saved by Steve Austin, the next action hero. Brainless fun that shouldn't have attempted to grow a brain through all those damn "mysterious" flashbacks. However, any fan of Austin should get to know THE STRANGER
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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