The Handler

It seems the era and influence of Cannon Films is far from over.  From the extra cheese to the body blows and the extreme gunshot bleeds, The Handler is easily drawn from the Golan-Globus era of the company, which saw multiple Death Wish sequels, the rise of Chuck Norris, and The Ninja trilogy.  If these films are your cuppa tea, then you will definitely get a lo-fi kick out of The Handler, arriving on DVD, Digital & On Demand December 7 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

"this is one hell of a violent flick"

Returning home from war is not an easy adjustment.  Ask any vet and they will probably lie to you about the struggle they face on a daily basis as a citizen soldier.  The Handler, in which one vet crosses the line in order to provide for his family and tries to do a course correction, is not an unfamiliar story when it comes to the action genre, yet its handling proves to be a success thanks to the combined efforts of Writer/Director Michael Matteo Rossi (Chase, Misogynist) and the ass-kicking charisma of Chris Levine as Ryker Dune, the ex-Marine at the center of the storm, who mix cheese with grit and come up with another winning combination.

Is it perfect?  Not at all.  See above where I note the Cannon comparisons.  Those films weren’t perfect, but their ham and cheese was earnestly prepared for the B-movie picnic and so, too, was their violence, which is why The Handler works and where, in fact, it also gets its credibility from.  It’s low budget, for sure, but in that limitation is a desire to bring back the ass-kicking gusto from a by-gone era.

Know this about Ryker’s journey: it is not for the weak.  Opening with a series of flashbacks and then dropping audiences right in the middle of the matter, this is one hell of a violent flick as one man goes against an entire mob with fists of fury in order to claw his way back out of the mess he’s found himself in.  I actually enjoy the editing style as we are never too comfortable as we move along in his arc for redemption.The Handler

Ryker is a recently returned to home vet who is struggling for money to take care of his wife and child.  Desperate to come to terms with his readjustment into “normal” life, Rykler takes the easy and familiar way out of financial distress.  He gets in league with a mob boss, the notorious Vinnie (Michael Pashan, who is both convincing and threatening), who helps him out of his current bind.  Unfortunately, he is not eager to let Ryker go when he announces that he’s doing ONE LAST JOB and he’s out.

Vinnie isn’t going to let him go that easily, so Ryker purposely throws a job.  Now, Vinnie sends all of his men after Ryker with the order to take him out in any way possible.  Forget about the cheesy drama and all the exposition announced throughout the story, we are really here to see Ryker deliver the goods and, while there might be some expected punches here and there, the majority of this film kicks hard in all the right places to give the audience a bit of a lift from its KUNG POW chicken on a mission.

With a cast that includes YouTube personality Tyrone Magnus, Rachel Alig (Digging to Death), Jazsmin Lewis (the Barbershop franchise) Cathy Baron (“Justified”), Matt Erdems (Checkmate), Michael Pashan (No Loose Ends), and Adam Carbone (“Gotham”), The Handler proves to have the strength to go the distance, even if it doesn't land all of its punches.

The thrilling, action-packed The Handler, directed by Michael Matteo Rossi and starring Chris Levine, will be available on DVD, Digital & On Demand December 7 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

3/5 stars

Film Details

The Handler

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
85 mins
: Michael Matteo Rossi
Michael Matteo Rossi
Rachel Alig;Maddison Bullock;Jazsmin Lewis
: Action
He'll do what it takes to get the job done.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Uncork'd Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 7, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Ryker is a recently returned to home vet who is struggling for money to take care of his wife and child. He gets in touch with Vinnie, a mob boss, who helps him, but Ryker soon wants out and when Vinnie doesn't allow it. Ryker purposely throws a job and Vinnie seeks to take Ryker out in any way possible.


The Handler