Since Michael Jai White was in this movie... I was expecting better! It seemed like he'd made it out of the bad budget B-movie universe with his recent Falcon Rising (among other titles), but here he is... back again. Though I do appreciate his being humble enough to sign up for a role like this, recent fame considered.
Steve Austin plays a role too, though his character receives disappointingly little screen time in action. Speaking big. Performing little.
And then there's Max Ryan, who somewhat makes up for too many moments of dialog with at least one pretty professional knife fight at the end... except in that one moment where he raises the knife high in the air, blade angled downwards, towards him, in the typical I-don't-know-how-to-handle-a-knife style you might recognize from classic horror movies. But considering the soundtrack, maybe that is a hidden homage to the genre, in which case: it's all cool.
I guess Steve Austin ate up most of the budget (five million!!), because I've seen plenty of movies that did a better job at angling the action than this one did with a fraction of the budget. For starters, there's too much dialog. For seconds, the horror movie soundtrack doesn't fit the action at all. And third, the viewer easily takes the hint when they're trampling a patch of dirt and suddenly a boatload of money's gone missing... but the main character doesn't figure it out until the very end. There are some other moments of sheer stupidity that I feel could've been avoided, and don't really help you relate or root for our main hero James.
The filming does occasionally shine bright and make you feel like this is really pretty awesome, but then they do something stupid again, it's not consistent. The acting's OK, the action's not bad, but the dialog is too much, and both plot and script feel a bit generic. Original punchlines and creative plot twists are painfully inexistent... and yet it's never directly boring or embarrassing either. If you have nothing better to watch, Chain Of Command is a decent action flick in lack of frills. Not bad, but could've been way better.
rated 3/5: not bad