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Jericho Ridge


Stars: Nikki Amuka-Bird, Zack Morris, Chris Reilly, Philipp Christopher, Zachary Hart

Director: Will Gilbey

A British film shot in Kosovo and set in America with a multi-national cast doesn't sound too promising, but this is one dynamite action film and you'd better believe it. There's just no let up from tension which stays on high throughout.

Tabby (Amuka-Bird) is a fortyish divorcee with a sullen teenage son, and works as a deputy at an isolated sheriff's office near s small town in Clay County. Right now, she's nursing a busted ankle from a car crash and dodging the inevitable cracks from her three male colleagues, two of whom fly off to arrest a perp while the other is set to arrest a suspect in a murder case.

Agreeing to let her son go off to a party. Tabby, in the film's only goof, admits a locksmith (shouldn't she ask for his credentials?) who proves to be a deadly killer searching for the murder weapon kept in Tabby's office. She captures him, but he picks the jail lock and escapes.

Tabby later discovers her errant son may be a key element in the case, which quickly results in the sheriff's office coming under siege. Thrillingly, tracer bullets are soon flying everywhere, and, when the sheriff and his deputy arrive with their prisoner, a horrified Tabby witnesses all three mown down by the besiegers' bullets.

Director Gilbey whose first feature this is, after years as writer and editor, screws the suspense nut-tight, as Tabby scraps desperately for her life and that of her son, who turns up later on. At first she can see what's going on outside - until the hitmen shoot out the computer screens. Nails will be bitten and seat-rests gripped as the action subsequently comes thick and fast. Not a breath is wasted in the film's taut 87 minutes.

Of particular note is the scene where Tabby, under fire, crawls to the bloodsoaked police car, in an effort to retrieve an automatic rifle which proves to be stuck in a strap around a dead man's foot.

As a showcase for its director, this is some calling-card - and Amuka-Bird is fantastic in a role almost as physically demanding as Bruce Willis's in Die Hard which is, like Assault on Precinct 13, an ancestor to this exciting film. If you miss its brief cinema release here, be sure to catch it on the digital download that follows.

David Quinlan

UK/Kosovo 2022. UK Distributor: The Movie Partnership. Colour (unspecified).
87 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 17 Apr 2024