Adrian (Weston Cage Coppola) is an international criminal and terrorist, a man who isn’t going to let a little thing like being wanted by the FBI prevent him from getting what he wants. Adrian wants his brother to be freed from prison. He wants money. He wants a plane that he and his criminal associates can use to get out of the country. His plan is to take over a veteran’s hospital and hold the patients and the doctors hostage until he gets what he wants. Among the hostages is General Welch (Gerald Webb) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Also inside of VA-33 is Jason Hill (Sean Patrick Flannery). Jason is a decorated veteran who is struggling with PTSD and a bad leg. Jason’s wife, Jennifer (Gina Holden), is a doctor at the hospital and also one of the hostages. With his 14 year-old daughter waiting for him outside and the initially skeptical police chief Malone (Michael Jai White) providing as much support as he can, Jason must take out of the terrorists and liberate VA-33.
Assault on VA-33 is an entertaining action film. The film was directed by Christopher Ray, the son of Fred Olen Ray. From his father, Christopher Ray obviously picked up the ability to make an enjoyable film on a low budget. However, Ray also served, for seven years, in the U.S. Navy and there’s a deep respect for veterans that runs throughout Assault on VA-33, a respect that sets this film apart from many of the other Die Hard-inspired action films that have come out over the years. For me, the film’s key scene is not any of the many action sequences but instead it’s when Jason first attempts to call the police and finds himself being dismissed because the man on the other end, upon hearing that Jason is at the VA, just assumes that Jason is suffering from paranoid hallucinations. “Thank you for your service,” the voice at the other end of the line says somewhat condescendingly as Jason struggles to get the police to understand that this is all really happening. The consequences of war is a theme that runs through the entire film as both Jason and the General struggle to deal with the physical and mental scars with which they’ve been afflicted.
Sean Patrick Flannery is a good action hero, playing Jason not as being superhuman but instead as just being a tough but weary man who, due to his past injuries, doesn’t move quite as fast as he used to but who is still trying to do the right thing and protect innocent people, including his wife and his daughter. Adrian’s henchmen are all properly memorable and menacing. I especially liked Tim McKiernan as the terrorist who is left in charge of the front desk. Rob Van Dam has some good moments as the terrorist who has been assigned to wait outside in the van and who keeps reminding everyone that his name is Zero.
Assault on VA-33 is a fun and quickly paced action movie. Flannery is an effective hero and the villains are all properly evil. I would also suggest sticking around through the end credits, just so you can enjoy the film’s musical score, which is definitely a bit better than the music that we typically associate with indie action films. It’s an enjoyable movie and a good way to spend 88 minutes of your life.