“You owe…you pay.”
“American Muscle” is a simple revenge film (the terms exploitation and grindhouse are commonly used) and you certainly won’t expect a creative storyline and memorable performances. The only purpose of such a type of film is to create a violent flick as quickly as possible and with a limited budget. There certainly is an audience for such films and I myself sometimes like watching such a go-for-it-without-thinking pulp film. This gritty film also focuses on brute force, bloody settlements and some female nudity. But what annoyed me the most after a certain time, was the totally nonsensical and vastly simplistic content. Most of the characters their muscle development isn’t proportional to the development of the brains. Sometimes the shown stupidity in here, made me laugh spontaneously.
The story is dead simple. John Falcon (Nick Principe) has been released after a prison sentence of 10 years. As soon as he leaves the gate, he has only one goal and that’s to take revenge on those who ensured him to end up behind bars. He also wants his wife Darling (Robin Sydney) back by his side. Darling is a naive girl with a drug problem. Despite John’s attempts to keep her from the deadly stuff, it seemed as if she’s the one who caused that John received those years of imprisonment. The path John’s following, leads directly to the members of the responsible gang of which his brother Sam (Todd Farmer) is the leader.
So what we get to see is a seventies-looking brutal film full of unfussy sadistic violence and massacres. The fake blood gushes through the film, the bloody bullet wounds are imaged frequently unscrupulously and you can gawk almost every 5 minutes at some female nude. Frankly however, most of them better left their clothes on, because they weren’t really appetizing to look at anyway. Besides the desirable-looking dancers in the stripteasebar where John walks in during his trip, most look like unkempt sluts who get drugs as a reward after they’ve let themselves being used. John’s concern about Darling wasn’t really sincere in my opinion, since he has sex with every woman he come across his path (It seems to me that in that area there are living a bunch of women who aren’t hard to get at all. Or they lack something in certain areas, if you catch my drift). Apparently the love between him and Darling isn’t something he takes too seriously.
Nick Principe needs no effort to look unsympathetic. He’s a real badass, with a body the size of an antique wardrobe and with pumped up, tattooed muscles. He isn’t very talkative. His conversations are usually limited and his dialogues concise out of a few phrases he pronounces muttering. He rumbles through the desert scenery as a terminator. Nothing and no one can stop him. The fact that the intellectual level of his opponents isn’t higher than that of a cactus that has been standing all day in the blazing desert sun, helps too of course. For sure the most dumb ones were the biker gang members, who accepted the assignment to kill John and send him to the happy hunting grounds. They could as well have a target cell painted on their obese body, while carrying a sign with the slogan “Please aim below in the bull’s-eye.” The only one who gets an award for the most courageous person of all, is one of the bimbos from Sam’s entourage (an old-fashioned alternativo with a huge, inverted brush on her head), who despite being a light weight and having a muscle-less stature, takes it up against John. Respect.
The real fans of this genre will probably enjoy this film. However this rugged film was a bit too simplistic and at times completely idiotic. Some fights were nicely put on the screen (despite the amateurish shooting skills again) and other scenes were plain ridiculous. Most dialogues are negligible and meaningless (the toilet scene is a typical example). The reason for the entire revenge expedition and the cause of John ending up in prison wasn’t obvious. However, there are some positive points. The playing time is roughly 77 minutes long so it’s really a film you can watch in between. The best fragment was in the desert landscape where iron works stood around. But sadly enough, this was ruined by a lousy, silly-looking shoot-out. “American muscle” looks much like the scantily dressed women in this film. There is the attempt to make it look interesting, but ultimately the end result is ugly, insignificant and only good for a one time use.