Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Written By: Kurt McLeod & Joe Carnahan
Story By: Mark Williams & Kurt McLeod
Cinematography: Juanmi Azpiroz
Editor: Kevin Hale
Cast: Frank Grillo, Gerard Butler, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Chad L. Coleman, Ryan O’Nan, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Kauai Lyman
On the run from a lethal assassin, a wily con artist devises a scheme to hide out inside a small-town police station-but when the hitman turns up at the precinct, an unsuspecting rookie cop finds herself caught in the crosshairs.
This film came across as a welcome surprise. At first, I was interested in the cast and director but when I heard that the director was upset at the cut used upon release. I tried to stay away but my curiosity got the better of me.
Though I know director Joe Carnahan is upset with this cut of the movie. If this is the cut that he is disappointed with I would love to see his cut, because this cut constantly breathes life into certain cliches and keeps the action moving and the scenes exciting.
This is why it is upsetting to a degree that Joe Carnahan is one of the best action directors out there. Whose films feel tough, full of life, vital, and still manage to usually be exciting and surprising. Seems to have to try and get by while higher-profile projects he attaches himself to would be great but rarely seem to work out. Even though he does his best with lower budgeted films. There is always that what if. He got bigger budgets. Because he certainly gets the actors and his scripts are always character-driven with the action.
Though you have two action powerhouses on each side by Frank Grillo and a surprisingly likable hardass played by Gerard butler. What really amazes me in the film is the lead played by Alexis Louder, as she is all gusto. She can be rough and tough one minute and funny the next but always in a serious manner. She is no pushover and here she makes a kick-ass action debut that hopefully, we will see her in more of these types of films. As she damn near steals the whole movie.
It also is nice to see an African American female in an action movie leading a role. She more than holds her own against these two known action movie veterans.
The film has minor weaknesses like it would have been nice to learn a little bit more about Frank Grillo’s character. As both actors are mysterious at first and slowly their true natures come to be shown. It would have been nice if there was still some mystery to them after a bit. As like the main character at first, you don’t know entirely who to trust and it keeps us on our toes.
Eventually, the film becomes a kind of siege movie as it seems everyone wants either into the police station or that certain prison block. Though considering the importance of everything that is on display you would think there would be more involved rather than the few that are eventually shown.
Although Toby Huss does provide laughs and chills as a rival contract killer who seems to enjoy his job a little too much. Who is as diabolical as he is Goofy.
While there is plenty of action and double-crosses what works for the film is how much the double-crosses are character-driven and feel more personal overall. Not easily forgettable even as it seems half the characters are at the end of their ropes.
It manages to be a memorable crime thriller. That is also a lot of fun as it goes along. It never gets boring and uses its one location wisely and to the most extent. As it makes it feel vast rather than secluded.
Maybe the reason why it is enjoyable is that it has a feel of ’80s and 90’s action. Thrillers with a modern-day flair. So that while not seen it feels like a throwback to those straight to video action films that were little hidden gems because they never tried to be more than what they knew they were. The type that seemed more like B-Movies that would air on HBO on Friday nights as their action offerings of extravaganza.
This is a film best to go blindly into. Though definitely worth your time. As it doesn’t rewrite anything but works well within its genre and with its time