Free Fall is the typical direct-to-video thriller with a plot stretched far too thin, filled with cliché after cliché and acting that’s at best average and is just an all around poorly made flick with little redeeming value.
Anchor Bay | R – 90 min. – $26.99 | October 28, 2014
THE MOVIE – 2.0/5
Believe it or not, Free Fall is the second suspense/thriller-on-an-elevator film I’ve seen in the past few months, the other being Alpha Alert. Not quite sure which one was better but certainly neither one was very good, although this one is far more generic and forgettable.
The story begins when a executive from Evil Corporation Inc., owned by Thaddeus Gault (MALCOLM MCDOWELL) apparently commits suicide landing on a poorly CGI’d car. The following day, we meet our protagonist Jane “Not of Tarzan” Porter (SARAH BUTLER) who was the decedents protégé and is obviously devastated by her mentor’s demise. As she’s cleaning out his office, she discovers a hidden USB drive and upon investigating, finds numerous documents implicating money laundering and other illegal activities, to which she brings to the attention of her supervisor, Ron (IAN GOMEZ).
As you can imagine, this was a mistake as Ron calls in a “Crisis Manager” in a man only named Frank (D.B. SWEENEY) who comes into an empty office building, save for a clearly doomed security guard, and more or less interrogates Jane who reveals she made a copy of the drive, which she retrieves though not before fending Frank off and escaping into an elevator. Before she can get out, Ron fumbles with the elevator settings and somehow manages to shut down the entire system trapping her inside with no escape (the hatch needs a special key to open) and Frank outside unable to get at her, though he makes several valiant (i.e. idiotic) attempts.
This film is one cliché after another from the greedy businessman/tycoon, played by Malcolm McDowell who probably just sleepwalked through his brief appearance (he’s only in it maybe 5-minutes) to the big bad guy as portrayed by D.B. Sweeney down to an all black suit and smoking a cigarette in his first appearance and again later just so we remember how bad of a guy he is… Can’t say Sweeney is a prolific actor or anything, but he’s far better than this material. Then you’ve got Sarah Butler who some might remember from the I Spit On Your Grave remake and her character’s experience was a cakewalk by comparison. For her part, Butler is OK in the main role though she doesn’t get a whole lot to do until the end for what was a standard fight scene, even if she did kick some ass, a major plus for any hot actress.
Free Fall was scripted by Dwayne Alexander Smith – who apparently started out on the YouTube series, “LonelyGirl15” and has followed up with a couple low budget outings – and was helmed by Malek Akkad, a name which should be familiar to some as producer of the Rob Zombie Halloween remakes, hence McDowell’s appearance, and is also the son of Moustapha Akkad, famed executive producer of the original Halloween series (up through Resurrection). Akkad makes only his second outing as a director and here, he’s unable to create any meaningful suspense especially once our heroine and villain are at a standstill in and outside the elevator respectively and by a certain point, the film becomes tedious and even a bit dull in spite of a reasonable 85-minute running time (sans credits).
All in all, Free Fall might’ve worked as an episode of some crime series, take your pick since every network has one, or even a SyFy Original Movie or something, but as a feature, it’s not well done from clichéd characters, a thin plot stretched too far and acting that’s average and anything but memorable. But even as throwaway entertainment, it’s not even worth that. Skip this even at a Red Box rental.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
Free Fall: Behind the Scenes (25:06; HD) is a surprisingly lengthy featurette showing how scenes were shot and features on-set interviews with members of the cast and crew.
Previews – In the Blood, Born to Race: Fast Track, Road to Paloma
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Arriving on Blu-ray presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec), Free Fall looks pretty standard for a release like this. Details are alright though not the sharpest and it does have that DTV look to it. Even so, colors are bright enough and it’s not an altogether poor looking film, just nothing outstanding.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track might not be the strongest where the bulk of the audio is mostly dialogue, which tends to be nice and clear throughout, the other elements like, oh I don’t know, a man crashing onto the hood of a car, just is flat with no depth while other things such as gunfire and whatnot come through a bit better. Again, as with the video, it’s not a bad track however it’s not exactly dynamic either.
OVERALL – 2.25/5
Overall, Free Fall is the typical direct-to-video thriller with a plot stretched far too thin, filled with cliché after cliché and acting that’s at best average and is just an all around poorly made flick with little redeeming value. The Blu-ray released by Anchor Bay has decent video and audio transfers while the solo bonus feature actually isn’t that bad.