7 Seconds (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I guess I should know the answer to this question but is Wesley Snipes the only guy who freely moves back and forth between theatrical releases and straight-to-video projects? Normally one is relegated either to the Steven Seagal job or the Keanu Reeves job, but Snipes seems to be both the black Keanu and the black Seagal, which is pretty amazing if you think about it.

This is yet another of those made-in-Eastern-Europe second tier action movies which seems vaguely reminiscent of every other action film you've ever seen, but is still competent enough and interesting enough to hold your attention. Snipes plays a master thief. Well, as usual there is more to it. A hero/thief can never just be a thief, can he? He's always forced to be a thief because of something noble he did in the past that was misinterpreted by others, or some similar crapola rationalization. In this case, our crooked hero was a special forces guy who fell on his sword to protect a comrade as a matter of honor. As a result of his selfless action, he did time in Leavenworth, and when he got out, he found that thievin' was about the only lucrative profession open to him.

Snipes has arranged a sweet armored car heist which seems a little confusing at first, but is actually quite clever because the confusion is part of the plot. At first, we see him execute a miserable failure to rob three armored trucks as they do their casino pick-ups in Bucharest, Romania. It turns out that the failed robberies were just a decoy to get all of the trucks into a red alert situation which would allow Snipes to get all the money from every casino in the city. In the process of pulling off the heist, Snipes also picks up an unexpected lagniappe - a  suitcase which is guarded by two armed men who are handcuffed to the case. Snipes doesn't know what's in it, but he can see that it must be worth stealing, so it becomes part of the haul.

After his gang manages to pull off the entire heist without a hitch, and is driving safely home, they are beset by another, larger gang of Russian brigands who kill almost all of Snipes's men and get all the money. Somehow Snipes manages to run off with the suitcase.

The rest of the film involves the usual game of cat-and-mouse. Since the Russian gang knew his exact plan, Snipes knows that a member of his own gang has betrayed him, so he starts to track down the ones still alive. He also needs to figure out what is so special about the contents of that suitcase. The leader of the second gang is so impressed with the suitcase that he thinks the twenty million dollars in casino money is chump change, and therefore sends his henchmen out to comb Bucharest for Snipes. The police, on the other hand, aren't really aware of the second gang at all, and think ol' Wesley is responsible for killing his own men plus some Romanian cops. Snipes is thus trapped in a predicament where everyone, good and bad, wants to capture him, and he can't even trust any of his friends because he knows that one of them betrayed him.

The set-up phase of the film is actually better than the resolution. Everything ultimately leads to a predictable denouement after the usual urban chase scenes, explosions, gunfights, and car crashes. In fact, the predictability in the film's last act is the only thing really weak about this movie. The first half of 7 Seconds is reasonably interesting, if a bit confusing, when the crosses and double-crosses engage one's mind, but after the curtains have been drawn back and all the secrets revealed, the film goes on for another 30-40 anticlimactic minutes with nothing left in the tank except gunfights and explosions. Despite a weaker second half, it is still one of the better straight-to-video action films. What it lacks in originality, it makes up in competence. The acting is satisfactory, the character development is adequate for an action film, the banter is sometimes amusing, the production values are fine, the cinematography and editing are solid, and the DVD transfer looks rich and professional. Moreover, Snipes is just plain more likeable and entertaining and human than the other guys who make straight-to-vids. 7 Seconds is definitely a cut above the recent straight-to-video efforts of Seagal and Stallone, and I even made it all the way through without using the fast forward button (although I sort of regretted that because the last thirty minutes were completely formulaic).



  • No special features
  • Widescreen, anamorphic, 16x9. The film looks good.



The only nudity occurs in the opening credits, when Georgina Rylance shows her bum clearly, and also offers brief side views of her breasts.

The Critics Vote ...

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The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C, an average action film - which means it's substantially above average by straight-to-video standards.

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