CHARLIE ZONE (Michael Melski). 103 minutes. Opens Friday (March 1). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNN
Charlie Zone makes its generic action template feel...well, if not fresh, then at least lively.
Michael Melski's grimy East Coast thriller stars Glen Gould (DaVinci's City Hall) as Avery, a broken down Halifax boxer hired to retrieve a young woman (Amanda Crew, of Charlie St. Cloud and the recent Rob Lowe political satire Knife Fight) who's disappeared into drug addiction.
Avery finds her easily enough, but the job turns out to be more complicated than it first appears, and in no time both he and his charge are fleeing for their lives through the Halifax underworld.
It's cheaply made and a little on the long side, with maybe one speech too many about the rich taking advantage of the poor. But strong performances by Gould and Crew - clearly relishing the opportunity to go beyond the frowny-pretty roles she's usually given - compensate for the production's ragged edges, and director Melski, who co-wrote the script with Joseph LeClair, shows promise as a meat-and-potatoes storyteller.
Give these guys a little more money and a bit more prep time and the results could be really impressive.