(Original Publication Date: April 3rd, 2019) By: John M Jerva
REVIEW: NO SURRENDER (KARMOUZ WAR)
STARRING: Amir Karara, Ghadah Abdulrazeq, Ahmed el-Sakka, Rogina, Mayan El Sayed, Bayyumi Fuad, Mostafa Khater, Eman El-Assy, Abed Fahd, Mahmoud El-Bezzawy and Scott Adkins
DIRECTED BY: PETER MIMI
OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Alexandria, Egypt, 1940. Three young Egyptians come to the aid of an Egyptian woman who is being attacked by three British soldiers. One of the soldiers, the nephew of the British military governor of Alexandria, is arrested and thrown in jail. When the governor’s demands to have his nephew release fail, the British military surround the police station and begin an all-out assault. It’s up to one man, General Youssef al-Masrito to defend his prison and protect his people, with one simple rule. No surrender!
THE REVIEW: Let me just get this out of the way now before I get started and say that this is not a Scott Adkins film by any means and the action star delivers what essentially is an extended cameo in director Peter Mimi’s Egyptian period action film that was a hit last summer in its native Egypt. Watching the film, you can see why as it is trying to be epic like Lawrence Of Arabia. Adkins filmed his small role last year and I knew that he wasn’t in it a lot going into it so I was fine with that. Unfortunately, the advertisers have splashed his name and images all over the U.S. domestic trailer and DVD release so it basically is false advertising so people who are unaware of this fact will be mad to say the least. I have to laugh as Adkins is highlighted on the cover art as if he’s the star of the film. Those of you who do know it might actually enjoy the film for what it is and while it is no way an epic it does deliver some solid action especially at the last half hour mark.
I’m sure many people are not familiar with this period of time in Egypt when the English occupied the country before the revolution and the film takes place in the Karmouz neighborhood of Alexandria where the British hold an iron fist over the population. The plot is simple as it deals with three British soldiers who attack an innocent Egyptian girl and when three young lads come to her rescue, an incident develops leaving one Egyptian man dead and the soldiers arrested. Unfortunately, one of the soldiers just happens to be the nephew of the British military governor for that area and he wants him released at all costs.
The real star of the film is Egyptian actor Amir Karara who play General Youssef al-Masrito, who runs the prison for that area and when he refuses to release the soldier, a stand off between the British and Egyptian army develops that will lead to an all-out war.
At a running time of 1 hour and 50 minutes, I did feel that the movie was drawn out a bit too long and it is filled with a variety of characters that don’t get a lot of description so it was hard to develop any feelings for them let alone care about them when something happens to them. We have the General of course and he gets the most screen time but then the supporting players all come in and out with little introduction. Even Adkins’ character doesn’t get any real back story as he is merely labeled as The Crazy One and all we know is that he is a British soldier who has been locked up for misconduct. Aside from that, there’s another prisoner, a prostitute and a helpful citizen that rounds out the supporting cast.
The stand off happens within the first act but unfortunately most of the film is a lot of talk with a few tense moments thrown in for dramatic sake but all the rousing action is held until the climax. When it finally does happen, it is vert exciting but it does take a little too long to get there. All in all though, the film did hold my interest even if I was just merely waiting to see Adkins appear on screen. Another set back is that he is featured in one scene towards the first half of the film and then we don’t see him until the very end.
Another drawback to NO SURRENDER is that this release from itn Distribution is dubbed with American voices and it isn’t the greatest job so there is a lot of bad and laughable voice overs and acting but in defense of the original actors, I feel that it would have been better for the DVD to have the original Egyptian audio with subtitles. One good aspect is that Adkins delivers his own lines so at least we have that going for it.
Now the best part of the film is the finale when the final battle happens and the British set loose The Crazy One to help eliminate the Egyptian soldiers and civilians who are revolting. This is clearly the best five minutes of the film as Adkins is unchained to release his killer moves and boy does he. We are treated to a barrage of furious kicks from the action star and we are witness to a bevy of his signature moves. Adkins takes out a host of Egyptians with his fists, feet and firepower and fans are clearly rewarded for sticking around.
The highlight of the climax is the inevitable showdown between Karara and Adkins and even though the latter is clearly the better fighter, the beat down is still very satisfying with the Adkins dishing out an awesome array of techniques. Karara does get to show off some impressive physical moves as well but lets be honest, it was Mr. Adkins we all came to see.
All in all, NO SURRENDER isn’t a bad film for what it is but it is easily forgettable and it would have been better to include Adkins in the story more so the ending would have had more dramatic impact. He’s just the crazy and brutal soldier that shows up to beat the piss out of people. Karara does the best with what he is given but at the end of the day this film is purely for the fans of Scott Adkins who want any opportunity to see the man strut his stuff. When it does happen, it’s impressive of course but the rest of the film just doesn’t measure up. The movie is a nice way to pass the time while we wait for AVENGEMENT, ABDUCTION and Adkins’ other offerings coming in the future.
VERDICT: 3 OUT OF 5 STARS and Worth a Watch for Scott Adkins’ Blistering Finale
NO SURRENDER is Now Available on DVD
OFFICIAL U.S. Domestic Trailer