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Budget butt-kicking: New indie action flicks

Brace yourself, indie world. A new series of high-octane action flicks starring genre icons Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren — and playing in select theaters, as well as on demand — is gunning to shake things up

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If you’re a fan of second-tier ’80s shoot-’em-ups like Red Scorpion and Cyborg, your prayers are about to be answered. On May 11, After Dark Films — the folks behind the annual ”After Dark Horrorfest” — will kick off their latest franchise, ”After Dark Action,” with five new knuckle-scrapers overseen by producer Joel Silver and featuring such Reagan-era stars as Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren. All five films will play simultaneously in theaters in the top 10 markets for a week and also be available on demand. Regardless of where you see them, though, the MO is the same. ”These movies are filled with as much action as we could possibly put in for the budget,” says After Dark Films president and CEO Courtney Solomon. Solomon says the idea for the series was to copy the success of their almost six-year-old Horrorfests, which pair established actors whose names still carry a certain cachet among nostalgic movie lovers with young directors eager to eke out the most bang from budgets in the $5 million–to–$7.5 million range. The lineup for the inaugural series includes Peter Weller and the Muscles From Brussels himself, Van Damme, in Dragon Eyes; Jim Caviezel in Transit; Justified‘s Neal McDonough in The Philly Kid; martial artist Scott Adkins and Christian Slater in El Gringo; and Rocky IV foe Lundgren in Stash House. ”I think what all of these films share is that they fill a niche that isn’t being filled right now,” says Solomon. ”They’re good fun romps for people who love the action movies of the ’80s.” Sold!