Appearances aren’t always as they seem and in Jared Bentley’s Intensive Care, it’s also true that danger comes in small packages. Covert Ops Specialist Alex (Tara Macken) is retiring after a PTSD-inducing incident in the Philippines. But that’s OK, she “gave more pain” than she got. Alex has now chosen the quiet life as an in-home nurse for a wealthy senior, Claire (Leslie Easterbrook). Alex loves her job and loves the peace and quiet of her rural surroundings.
Meanwhile, Claire’s estranged grandson Danny (Jai Rodriguez) is in deep with mob boss Mr. Butters. Danny has a week to pay back Butters or else. So he teams up with two local goons, Seth (Kevin Sizemore) and Rudy (Jose Rosete) to break into Claire’s safe and steal the large sum of cash just sitting inside it.
Danny schemes to lure Alex out of the house by taking her out on a “date,” while Seth and Rudy rob the safe, home invasion style. Danny’s plans go awry when it’s discovered the safe is especially hard to break into, and Alex is eager to end the date and head back home. Thinking fast, Danny seduces Alex, but to no avail, the safe is still not open. The next morning, Alex is bound and gagged as she discovers Danny’s nefarious plan. So now Alex must thwart Danny and the even more dangerous Seth and Rudy using only her wits and her covert ops military skills.
“…Alex must thwart Danny and the even more dangerous Seth and Rudy using only her wits and her covert ops military skills.”
Watching Intensive Care requires a clear understanding of what the movie really is. Essentially, it’s an action film with a kick-ass female lead. The film’s story is not exactly the most original and is loaded with its fair share of plot holes. But then when was the last time you saw an action film for its tight storyline.
So let’s just start with the quality of action. Intensive Care treats its characters like they live by video game rules. A fight will occur until one character is incapacitated thus allowing the survivor to continue with the plot. The other character is left alone to rest and restore his/her energy levels to fight again good as new. That is until the big boss battle at the end.
An early example of this is when Alex is escaping capture for the first time wearing a white nightgown. She gets shot in the leg and jumps through a window. She is now outdoors distancing herself from Claire’s mansion and must walk about a hundred yards to safety. First, she’s shot in the upper thigh. She should not be walking at this point. This logic only gets in the way of the more important scene she removes the bullet from her leg to fight again. But logic be damned because we’d miss this glorious scene when Alex is in a bathtub removing the bullet. The tub’s water is blood red and with new life proceeds to baptize herself in that water in effect dying her clean white bra in the red bloody water. This is exactly why we watch action films.
As far as the fighting and stunts go, it’s decent. The majority of it is hand-to-hand martial arts fighting with an occasional handgun. The bigger stunt pieces make good use of the small budget it most likely had. Overall, nothing groundbreaking in the world for stunt fighting but it does a good job showing off the acting and fighting talents of its star Tara Macken, who in real life is a body and stunt double for the big Hollywood films. She makes the most of her time in front of the camera.
“…riddled with numerous plot holes—enough to break your ankles a few times over.”
The film is riddled with numerous plot holes—enough to break your ankles a few times over. The most glaring is the continued utterance of the phrase “I’m going to kill you.” Both the protagonists and antagonist have more than enough moments to kill their target. But rather than pulling the trigger to end the threat, the action is prolonged thanks to dramatic pauses, exposition, and lucky coincidences to save the day. But again, this is why we see action movies.
Lastly, Jai Rodriguez is in fine form as the macho, but conflicted con-artist after his grandmother’s inheritance. For those who are familiar with his previous work as a reality show personality, you will get a kick out this ironic role and they way its called out.
Ultimately Intensive Care is worth watching for its charismatic lead, Tara Macken, who has good stunt and martial arts skills. But overall, the final product languishes in mediocrity. See it because you’re a fan of the low-budget action movie genre.
Intensive Care (2018) Directed by Jared Bentley. Written by Jared Bentley, Darrin Scane. Starring Tara Mackin, Jai Rodriguez, Kevin Sizemore, Jose Rosete, Leslie Easterbrook.
5 out of 10 stars