Ryan Varrett (Steve Austin) is a man on a mission: to exact revenge against those who've evaded the legal system. When Varrett's latest target brings him to a charming little town called Hope, he tangles with a vicious biker gang and its hardcore leader, Drayke (Danny Trejo). Will Varrett complete his bloody quest, or will Drayke destroy this stone cold agent of vengeance? That's the story of Recoil.
Recoil begins with a seemingly idyllic nature scene: a beautiful green forest being enjoyed by a cute bunny. Intruding into that picture comes a burly hunter with an automatic rifle, looking to make some rabbit stew and throwing off the natural equilibrium. It turns out that the shooter is rapist who beat the rap; appearing out of nowhere is Mr. Varrett, ready to dole out brutal justice for the victim. One chokeslam off a cliff later, the balance of nature is temporarily restored.
It might be nice if Recoil was inlaid with even that trite subtextual meaning, but that's giving it too much credit. And yet calling it a bare bones actioner isn't right, either. The meat of the story takes place in a rural Washington biker town populated with corrupt cops, locals who exist to state the obvious, and a motorcycle club doubling as a criminal enterprise. If that sounds familiar, chances are you've already seen the television show Sons Of Anarchy. Obviously, the creators of Recoil have, too, and they make no bones about lifting premise and visuals; in fact, the cuts that the gang members wear have patches that read "ANARCHY", just in case you missed the point. Sadly, Recoil mostly plays like a bad fan fiction episode of SOA, featuring Steve Austin as the proverbial Mary Sue.
Still, if criticizing this film for lacking depth is unfair, so is knocking it for ripping off another story. Recoil exists solely to let us see Austin and Trejo beat the living hell out of every one else, and when that happens, Recoil is actually kind of fun. There's no usage of any "Stone Cold" catchphrases, but there's an appropriate one that another wrestler made famous: "Know your role, jabroni." This film's role is to deliver knee lifts, punches, and pistol whippings from two men who absolutely look the part. And while those moments are too few and far between, the fleeting occurrences almost justify the existence of Recoil. Almost.
Recoil is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, so the picture will fill your widescreen television. As discussed in one of the special features, the film deliberately uses a muted color scheme, so there's a preponderance of blues, grays, and figures in shadow. The film certainly doesn't look bad, but neither does it particularly dazzle the eye.
The sole audio track is 5.1 DTS-HD, and it could be accurately described as functional. There's nothing too elaborate in the sound design; the punches connect emphatically and the explosions are loud. Unfortunately, the dialogue in a few places is difficult to discern, but this isn't Shakespeare, either. You can hear adequately hear the violence.
The special features for the Blu-ray of Recoil are as follows:
The Making of Recoil: pretty self-explanatory, it's a perfunctory look at the characters and a few behind the scenes details.
A collection of deleted scenes.
The trailer for Recoil.