Jesse V. Johnson: A New Force of Action
Director Jesse V. Johnson has been a favourite on the indie action scene for some time. With a background in stunts on some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters, this man knows action inside out. But it wasn’t until he grabbed attention as a filmmaker - fashioning quality, lower-budget action-packed productions like Pit Fighter, The Last Sentinel, Alien Agent and the hugely impressive gangster story, Charlie Valentine, that a wider audience took notice.
In his latest film, The Package (which also earned a limited Theatrical release in the US), he proves yet again that he’s a director with a great aptitude for action combined with the skill, vision and finesse to manage a solid, impressive movie at the same time. Plus, he has a great skill for featuring a top ensemble cast and offering a slightly different (and unexpected) platform for old-school stars and well-loved faces of the genre, bringing them back in fighting force (see Eric Roberts in The Butcher or Raymond J. Barry in Charlie Valentine). That’s not to mention regular supporting players like Steven Bauer, Jerry Trimble, Keith David, Dominiquie Vandenberg and others. It’s a very Tarantino-esque style and never disappoints.
The Package brings together an exciting cast of action veterans and rising stars including Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, Darren Shahlavi, Jerry Trimble and Monique Ganderton. It delivers a satisfyingly back-to-basics, stripped-down action fare which still manages to add something fresh to the mix (complete with sharp dialogue and colourful characters). Seeing a film like this delivered in strong form puts into perspective the importance of a great team and shows how well it really can be done. Action fans who haven’t yet seen the film should seek it out on Blu-ray or DVD as it’s highly recommended.
Recently, Jesse also released the trailer for his new Wonder Woman fan film project online and the response has been phenomenal. What’s more, it’s also been announced that Jesse will also be directing the forthcoming Kill Em All, John, again starring Steve Austin. So there’s a great deal on the way and it’s exciting to witness someone approaching the action genre with his particular style and the real drive to make an awesome film. Keep an eye out.