A convoluted tale of genteel “fighting”

I don’t think the trailer (posted to the right of the review) does the movie any justice. Or you, for that matter. It couldn’t possibly demonstrate the non-hitting hitting performed, or the non-cutting cutting by the “warriors” blades. You also don’t get to enjoy the non-stabbing stabbing, hell, even the non-acting acting doesn’t get a proper showing. All kidding aside, this movie was honestly, just barely watchable, and nothing more. I genuinely don’t like to bomb a movie and generally find something of interest. Thankfully there are indeed some good things about writer/director Ian Chinsee’s House of Cards. Some of the camera work was not too shabby, and I did catch a couple of scenes where the acting was OK. The fighters clearly could fight but for some incredibly odd reason they decided not to bother and instead done some slo-mo pretend stuff where they obviously missed each other by a mile (sometimes three), and was rather foolish looking. I won’t talk about the dojo scene.

House of Cards
Directed by
Ian Chinsee
Benjamin Alldridge, Daniel Cason, Ian Chinsee
Release Date
10 May, 2013
Influx Grade: D

I realise this was done on a shoestring budget (at least, I hope that was the case) and that most of the people involved (other than also being related) were inexperienced, so allowances have to be made for that. So, on that basis I’m being rather kind to House of Cards. I think what I found irritating was the fact that Chinsee had everything in place to make a decent looking (if extremely rough) fight flick, with some real looking fights and a bit of action, but decided to play it all too safe. This movie looks like a PG as it had nothing to make it anything higher. No swearing, sex or violence is not a good way to make an action movie about illegal fighting and assassins. The strange thing is, Chinsee didn’t have a problem punching the crap out of a woman. Very unrealistically, but still.

John (Prince William lookalike) is a drunken journalist, who has fallen out with his girlfriend (or Sheila, it is an Australian film after all), and is making a pest of himself by going to her home. She tells him to leave and on the way home, he pulls over and is sick. He looks up in time to see a design burning on a tree and takes a picture with his phone. He asks his boss if he can return from suspension, and after a bit of whining is allowed back. He starts to investigate this mysterious pattern and is told by a co-worker about Simon (the director) who fights for a living at a warehouse. He gets the cold shoulder after going to the warehouse and asking Simon about the symbol, and just after John is tossed out someone is killed during a fight. They are stabbed in the heart by a female assassin who always wears a mask (see poster) as is the custom of the group she represents. Fire. John discovers his co-worker and girlfriend are connected to the group of assassins (this was some shoddy writing with this part of the story) but he’ll do anything to get the story.

Review by Ed Blackadder, special to Influx Magazine