Directed By: Barry Battles
Written By: Barry Battles & Griffin Hood
Cinematography By: David MacFarland
Editor: Sean Valla
Cast: Clayne Crawford, Travis Fimmel, Daniel Cudmore, Eva Longoria, Billy Bob Thornton, Andre Braugher, Michael Rapaport, Zoe Bell, Agnes Bruckner, Natalie Martinez, Brea Grant, Paul Wesley, Julio Oscar Mechoso
After her ex-husband Carlos shoots Celeste three times in the gut, it’s time to play dirty. In the fight for her godson, Rob, she hires three outlawed and redneck brothers to bring him back to her. But nothing can be that simple in the South. What begins as a small rescue mission rises to a southern battle royale. This odd team must shoot their way through gorgeous female assassins, Native American hunters, Federal agents, and a whole lot of metal coming after them, while protecting Celeste’s innocent child.
The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2009 Blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year.
From the start of the film. The film tried to hear to a degree that boils over to a degree, where it tries to take the audience constantly by surprise. Even though we all know what kind of film this is.
The film works as some kind of exploitive straight to DVD action comedy that seems to aspire for it’s own franchise. That I wouldn’t have a problem with. The film seems to be more mainstream exploitive that plays with the genre and ideas of southern justice. As it feels like a natural film that would have appeared on HBO Friday night original films that were usually action films or thrillers, with big name C-list casts.
The film seems to go out of it’s way to portray the character as white trash, southern rednecks who are surprisingly not racist.
The film harkens back to the take no prisoners action extravaganzas of the 80’s and 90’s. Yet using characters usually portrayed as villains. Redneck hillbillies as the anti-heroes. Who work as mercenaries. Here seeming to have some naive fatalism, but somewhat the most decent characters compared to most of the others in this film.
Billy Bob Thornton as the villain is fun especially with his wardrobe and hairdo as well as facial hair helping make the role more fitting. Even if he plays the role as it is more of a favor to someone.
The biggest name other then Billy Bob Thornton in this film is Eva Longoria in a sexy yet tough role.
The film is full of cliches like in all southern films that seem to have characters ridiculously sweaty for no reason. That is part of the charm.
Though the film seems partly inspired by THE BOONDOCK SANINTS films and the Tremor brothers of the film SMOKIN’ ACES. Who we saw glimpses of in both SMOKIN’ ACES films but never reached their full potential as characters or in action scenes. As we see them mostly in hints and glimpses of what they could do in those films. Kind of like when athletes are spokespeople for products going into the Olympics talking about their particular skill then flunk out at the tryouts for the Olympics all that promise and no follow through.
Here though it isn’t the same or related really. As this is a chance to see what it might have been like if they had gotten their own film. Action first, think second, plan last seems to be their motto. Just destroying and taking whatever stands in their way or really is in front of them.
Though violent social misfits. They are made likeable to a degree. Due to funny camaraderie and the amount of time we spend with them. As well as not appearing as racists. As you would expect.
It’s also fun that a different assassination group or gang. That have a certain similar creed only they are an all female biker gang of assassins and doing double duty of appearing as escorts. Or the gang of African-American road warriors in armored trucks they encounter. Using the south as a backdrop of tradition and unpredictable lawlessness. The film manages to create it’s own world and logic. That leaves the film strangely beautiful
The film plays like a mild western or a modern southern. In this case being that it takes place in the south. Though a western at heart and I story as well as character types. Though not too many strong silent types.
The film has the kind of spirit that and energy that reminds one of the films of Robert Rodriguez. Only not as over the top or campy and more within the realm of reality.
Though the film might be short on grand action sequences. This films spark of originality and fun is what seems to be missing from modern action films, that can get too bogged down in intellectualism or visuals. Instead if actually being entertaining and entertaining the audience. Action films don’t always need to give the audience something they have never never seen before.
The film is unapologetic in it’s violence and brutality. It is also just generally funny in a dark way, but at least not disturbingly or downtrodden. Part of the humor comes from the cast especially Michael Rapaport In his solo scenes.
In the end the film is just a rollicking unapologetic hell of a good time. With little to no pretentiousness, That is a story of outsiders.