Actor and filmmaker Michael Hoad has been in my purview for as long as I’ve followed a number of UK stunt talents. His latest push in the past few years since doing it up in Cannes for Jean Paul-Ly’s The Division and his own forthcoming sci-fi action proof, Soner Metin’s Insurrection, currently brings us Blood Choke Retribution, a project that clearly speaks to the fanbase it aims for going forward.
Save for the similar-seeming revenge tropes, Hoad, Blood Choke Retribution is a pretty simple short story to follow telling of Jack, a former special forces soldier on early leave whose hometown arrival and reunion with the wife are sourly interrupted by the emergence of a burgeoning gang looking to escalate. Jack is rendered half-blind and beaten, and his wife raped and murdered in retaliation for Jack’s meddling; Blood Choke Retribution begins in the wake of that tragedy just as Jack is training in a low-lit room, surrounded by photos of his targets, and a loose pack of mysterious pills.
The performances are ample enough as Hoad’s simplistic approach to small-scale action/revenge storytelling is what helps. Actor, collaborative writer and fight choreographer A.J. Blackwell serves the role nicely and proves his upkeep well among our cast as the action and pacing maintains throughout the shortfilm. The main villain is played by actor Bentley Kalu (Black Site, American Assassin) whose key presence solely bares a talking mouth, a deep tone and foreboding dialogue that go hand-in-hand with the plot’s albeit predictable midway outcome; The word ‘Retribution’ is in the title for a reason – because of course, Hoad’s got a story to tell, and our hero Jack’s got some serious ass to kick.
The aforementioned pills are the lynchpin to the action we see on screen. Blackwell’s amply-paced choreography mixes things up nicely as our characters engage some ground game on occassion while Soner Metin’s cinematography follows along and elevates things a bit. The pills were terrific in providing a bit more intrigue into the thrills of the fight action.
It’s alright if you’re not too blown away by a small-scale indie pitch like Blood Choke Retribution, but don’t be surprised if you see more of Hoad in the months and years to come. His work in the last four years has juxtaposed him with a number of peers whove have proven themselves equally promising.
Tastes notwithstanding, the seed Hoad plants with Blood Choke Retribution bares a workable concept that assures enough escapist fun to whet the appetite for action fans hard-up for some brutal fisticuffs. It should also give way to some attention from genre fans at large, so stand fast and keep Hoad on your radar.