Reviews | Written by Paul Mount 17/11/2018

INTENSIVE CARE

Intensive Care, the first film from Rotten Tomatoes content producer and editor Jared Bentley, is a brisk, action-packed Tarantino-esque thriller that packs more of a punch than many of its low-budget, low ambition bedfellows. Sleazy loser Danny (Rodriguez) is up to his eyeballs in debt and his only hope lies with his ailing grandmother Claire (Easterbrook) who is on her last legs and being nursed at home by her personal carer Alex (Macken) who, we learn in the film’s opening action scene, is a formidable fighter who has turned her back on her former life in special ops. Granny won’t help out so Danny enlists the help of a couple of his gangster chums to break into the house and liberate his granny’s fortune, which he is convinced is on the premises. Danny smooth-talks Alex into a night in a bar as Seth (Sizemore) and Rudy (Rosete) plan to break into the house to lift the loot. But the date ends early when Danny and Alex get along better than expected and return home before Seth and Rudy are able to access the safe where Granny’s cash stash is hidden and in the morning chaos erupts when Alex realises exactly what’s going on. Fortunately, as we know and Seth and Rudy don’t, Alex has skills and the resulting punchy drama plays out like a bloody-nosed Home Alone as the clueless intruders repeatedly fail to get the better of Alex who outwits them (which isn’t difficult as they’re both fairly witless) at every turn. Intensive Care is a fun, tongue-in-cheek romp that never threatens to take itself too seriously. As a vehicle for Macken, former Hunger Games actor and accomplished Hollywood stunt performer, the film does a decent job in putting her front and centre and allowing to do her thing in her own name for a change. Fight scenes are frenetic and bruising, the violence is often distinctly comic strip and Seth and Rudy, although apparently fairly ruthless (in one early scene they murder a hapless prostitute) are also pretty incompetent, squandering any number of opportunities to kill Alex when she’s momentarily on the back foot. But despite its violence, this is a breezy, watchable, and commendably brief movie, smartly directed and with a refreshing line in clipped, pithy dialogue. Inevitably, there are some problems; Alex taking a shine to the sleazy Danny strains credibility a little, the ending is so abrupt it can’t help but elicit a “What just happened there?” response and the acting is, in places, a little raw. But Intensive Care is a fast-paced, no-nonsense homage to uncomplicated, on-the-nose action cinema, a film which is happy just getting on with it, beating a few people up along the way, and then getting out. Good wham-bam fun.   INTENSIVE CARE / CERT:TBC / DIRECTOR: JARED BENTLEY / SCREENPLAY: JARED BENTLEY, DARRIN SCANE, ERIC STORLIE / STARRING: TARA MACKEN, KEVIN SIZEMORE, JAI RODRIGUEZ, JOSE ROSETE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (US), TBC (UK)