2012 was the year of the dream team and I'm not talking about the NBA superstars participating in the Summer Olympics. Comic book fans finally saw most of their favorite superheroes join forces in "The Avengers," which was a runaway success. Lovers of classic action films were pleased to see icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Jean-Claude Van Damme sharing the screen together in "The Expendables 2." There's one pairing I don't think anyone was clamoring for and that's Dolph Lundgren and Cuba Gooding Jr. Gooding won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in "Jerry Maguire" and that should have skyrocketed his career. Instead, he's been puttering away in silly comedies ("Snow Dogs," "Boat Trip") and overwrought dramas ("Radio," "Red Tails"). Gooding might as well try his hand at action.
In "One in the Chamber," he plays an American expatriate living in Prague named Ray Carver, who reluctantly works as a freelance assassin. He is hired by crime bosses Mikhail (Andrew Bicknell) and his brother Bobby Suverov (Leo Gregory) to eliminate their rivals Vlad Tavanian (Alin Panc) and Demyan Ivanov (Louis Mandylor). Vlad and several of his men are killed, but Demyan escapes and turns the tables on the Suverovs by hiring Carver to kill them. In response, Mikhail enlists the services of a legendary hitman named Aleksey Andreev (Lundgren), known and feared in the underworld as the Wolf. As Carver precariously straddles the line between both factions, he must also protect Janice Knowles (Claudia Bassols), an innocent woman with a startling connection to Carver.
Gooding doesn't make much of an impression as the protagonist. His forte is in more energetic and lighthearted roles. Here, he's asked to play the silent, brooding type while spouting superfluous voiceover narration. It's not all that convincing. The real star of the picture is Dolph Lundgren, who towers over everyone as the eccentric baddie. Clad in a Hawaiian shirt and a fedora one size too small, he is described by one character as "Sinatra on steroids." Lundgren adds some much needed humor to a film that takes itself too seriously at times.
"One in the Chamber" was directed by William Kaufman, who also helmed another DTV actioner in "Sinners and Saints." Kaufman is a competent director and he handles the set pieces adequately considering the low budget. The movie starts off strong as Carver opens fire on the Tavanian crime family with a high caliber sniper rifle. There's also a rooftop foot chase, a couple of quick shootouts, and a fight sequence between Gooding and Lundgren. The action isn't all that spectacular, but it's the only thing holding together a loose production cobbled together with bad dialogue and a hackneyed plot.
The video is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The Blu-ray features a quality transfer with bold colors and a clean picture. You'll notice little details like the glossy sweat on Gooding's arms or the craggily wrinkles on Lundgren's face.
The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The sound is rather disappointing for a high definition release. I had to turn up the volume to understand some of the dialogue, particularly for anyone speaking with a Russian accent. The lossless soundtrack isn't very immersive and the sound effects are somewhat muted.
The only available bonus material is One in the Chamber: Behind the Scenes (9:45), a standard EPK look at the making of the film. Aside from that, you get an extra DVD copy.
You never expect a lot from a direct-to-video feature and "One in the Chamber" only delivers in the most modest of ways. This is a run-of-the-mill B-movie that could have used more Dolph Lundgren and less Cuba Gooding Jr.