Director: Brian A. Miller (reprisal, officer down)
Starring: matthew modine, sylvester stallone, colin egglesfield, and Christopher mcdonald
REVIEWER: lyall carter
The lone surviving thief of a violent armored car robbery is sprung from a high security facility and administered an experimental drug.
When I was growing up, our household didn't really have an action star that we were super fans of. Some of my friends lived in Arnie households, or Jean Claude Van Damme, or Segal households where that action hero was revered. So I didn't grow up with Stallone and only really encountered him in the Creed films which were pretty decent. Unfortunately Backtrace is no Creed.
After suffering a brain injury from a bank heist gone wrong, MacDonald develops amnesia and is put into a prison psychiatric ward. Following his seventh year of incarceration, he is coerced by an inmate and a ward doctor to break out of prison, and he's injected with a serum that forces him to relive the life he's forgotten. MacDonald must now elude a local detective, a toughened FBI agent, and the drug's dangerous side effects to recover the stolen money.
The central idea of Backtrace, a bank robber who suffers from amnesia and doesn't remember where he's stashed the loot, is an intriguing concept. Unfortunately it doesn't translate well here. The story unravels in a really basic way, without much consideration given to a taut narrative flow.
The production also feels incredibly low budget from guns quite obviously not even firing blanks to the slightly distracting graffiti on the walls of one of the main sets. The action is fairly enjoyable but the cinematography choices results in the action set pieces failing to unfold in a particularly creative way.
For top billing on the film, Stallone isn't in the movie a heck of a lot and it feels like he was attached to draw viewers to the film. The rest of the cast try valiantly but are ultimately let down by the production.
Backtrace is more of a fizzer of an action film than a real cracker.