Verdict: 2.5 / 5
With a title like Charlie Zone it’s difficult to conjure up many positive thoughts about what’s about to come in Michael Melski’s straight-to-DVD release. And while many will hit the nail on the head when it comes to predicting its generic storyline, the second half of the dark drama film sidesteps a few action clichés to deliver a few memorable moments. The description on the back cover would you have believe the story is far more hardcore than it actually is, but the honest trust is that Charlie Zone is as equally good as it is bad. For everything it gets right, it gets two things wrong.
The story follows a down-and-out-of-luck Canadian boxer named Avery who has been reduced to street fighting for an underground website. Soon after his popularity gains some momentum a woman approaches him with a side job. This entails rescuing her young heroin addict daughter from a drug den, where she is guarded by a gang of drug lords. At first he politely turns down the offer, but after some desperate begging and a monetary reward he sets off to fulfill her request. He infiltrates the drug circles, posing as a user and when the moment arises kidnaps the teen. As fate would have it, the girl is wanted by numerous other baddies which Avery needs to fight off in the process.
Actor Glen Gould, a sad soul, isn’t your conventional Hollywood lead. His performance is cold, his looks average, and his fighting skills mediocre, all complementing the average Joe character he is playing. The problem, however, comes in with casting of Amanda Crew, a beautiful, talented actress, who acts rings around Gould. She seriously shouldn’t be doing B-grade films like this. Mpho Koaho also shows glimmers of talent hidden behind his stereotypical character.
Charlie Zone is not a film I can truly recommend, but it’s also not nearly as bad as the other films of the same budget in the same category. The ending is bound to leave the slightest grin on your face.