Giorgio Serafini is a surprising choice for an action filmmaker and yet someone who has turned heads with a surprising twist of visual flair, clean sharp action and an unusually stylised look and feel. All this within a genre which has often been left to stagnate in formula and predictability.
Having cut his teeth on various Italian TV series he made a surprising shift into action and, for many western audiences, first appeared on the radar when he directed the Wesley Snipes fronted action thriller, Game of Death. Combining a tense, claustrophobic storyline with a surprising (some may say experimental) stylised vision, the film was a real surprise and reaffirmed once again how low-budget action can aspire for higher quality rather than succumbing to cheap, repetitious shelf-filler which tarnishes the film market as a whole.
Lower budget action films, while forced to compete an uphill battle in a saturated market, do benefit from standing separate from their mainstream counterparts (and associated middle of the road sensibilities). It’s a position which offers a filmmaker the chance to do their own thing with an old formula and try something different. Other filmmakers have also done it before and it usually serves up the best and most surprising results (check out my article Defending DTV Action). More recently, Serafini has gone on to direct recent releases Hard Rush, Blood of Redemption (co-directed with Shawn Sourgose) and has A Certain Justice (starring Dolph Lundgren and Cung Le) in post-production and due for release next year. In all cases he seems to be demonstrating a genuine drive to elevate the product above the normal expectations of B-movie action and offers audiences something new.
These films have always enjoyed a loyal, consistent fan base but there’s certainly nothing wrong with trying to bridge that gap. Despite the well known limitations associated with any low budget filmmaking (namely tight schedules and budget) he’s making his mark in the world of action cinema and no doubt has plenty more to put out there. Even negative reviews of Game of Death or Hard Rush acknowledged the fact that he’s clearly trying to raise the bar with the resources available. I say let’s keep him firmly on the radar and support the cause because, truthfully, for anyone who loves action cinema, we need more filmmakers like him. Where there’s a conveyor belt system gladly slapping products together, anyone who aspires to carve a decent piece of work gets my vote any day. I look forward to seeing him work with a project where he has greater creative control and can really stamp his brand on the finished film.
Hard Rush and Blood of Redemption are available now on Blu-ray and DVD