‘Welcome to Sudden Death’ Chokes in Overtime
Updated: Feb 1
Universal Studios’ 1440 Entertainment (their direct to video brand) has been digging into their '90s movies catalog recently, to see what they can milk for a quick name recognition buck (Hard Target 2, Kindergarten Cop 2, Backdraft 2, the American Pie spinoffs, etc). Now they've plucked out Jean-Claude Van Damme’s ‘Sudden Death’ to give us ‘Welcome to Sudden Death’ starring Michael Jai White. ‘Welcome..’ is definitely not a sequel, but more of a remake. A very poorly made remake.
Michael Jai White has undeniable charisma and charm about him. Kind of like Will Smith, in the way he is still a joy to watch, even if the movie surrounding him is not good. This movie is not good. Let’s start with how rushed it feels. The running time is a bare 1 hour and 20 minutes (with Credits!). Short run times don’t necessarily make a movie bad, but when the pacing is uneven it can make a bad short movie seem like forever.
Let’s talk about the bad: clunky dialogue combined with bad or uninspired acting, horrible main villain (there’s a henchman in the movie that would've been way better. we’ll get to him in a few), poor editing, especially during most of the fight scenes. The filmmaking in general is just downright amateurish. The overall feeling of suspense is missing because it just had no time to build. That’s kind of important when there is a countdown to something bad looming.
The good: Michael...Jai...White. He almost single-handedly saves this movie from being downright terrible. I say almost because remember the aforementioned henchman that I said would've been a better main villain? He is played by Marrese Crump, and he and White have the best scene in the movie in the form of a fight scene. What a missed opportunity to have had him as the big baddie.
The direct to video market is a tricky one. Michael Jai White has some gems in the category(Undisputed II, Blood and Bone, Falcon Rising, etc). But he also has a few clunkers(Android Cop, Undercover Brother 2, etc). Unfortunately ‘Welcome to Sudden Death’ belongs in the clunker section. But If you're curious to take a peak, it is on Netflix. I will say this, it was pretty cool seeing White and his real-life wife(Gillian White) have a fight scene against each other. One of few scores in this Sudden Death.
Our Rating:★★ out of ★★★★★