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  Braven Chasin' JasonBuy this film here.
Year: 2018
Director: Lin Oeding
Stars: Jason Momoa, Garret Dillahunt, Jill Wagner, Stephen Lang, Sasha Rossof, Sala Baker, Fraser Aitcheson, Teach Grant, Glenn Ennis, Todd Scott, Zahn McClarnon, Brendan Fletcher, James Harvey Ward, Steve O'Connell, Tye Alexander, Kevin Lewis
Genre: Drama, Action, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Joe Braven (Jason Momoa) owns a logging business up in Canada, and it has been doing very well for him, though at home things could be better. Not with his wife Stephanie (Jill Wagner), nor his daughter Charlotte (Sasha Rossof), but with his ageing father Linden (Stephen Lang) who is beginning to show signs of dementia now he has lost his wife. Joe doesn't wish to put his dad in a care home, but is thinking that may be the only solution as the old man is becoming erratic in his behaviour - the last straw comes when he goes to a bar and mistakes a woman there for his late wife, and starts a fight that Joe has to rush to break up, landing them both in hospital...

But Braven was not, as you might surmise from the opening of this, a drama about the issues surrounding care of the elderly, though curiously that was on its mind for a surprising amount of the time. Nope, for you see there's a gang of drug runners who plan to use Joe's logging transport as a hidden carrier for their heroin trade, moving the narcotics around the country smuggled in the actual logs, and they would not take kindly to him preventing this lucrative line should he find out what’s going on under his nose. However, on one of these trips, the truck crashes and the leader criminal, Kassen (Garret Dillahunt) stashes the booty in Joe's nearby cabin in the meantime.

Well, he'd never know, would he? Yes, he would if he decides to take Linden up to the cabin, ostensibly to close it down for the winter (some attractively snowy landscapes in this one) but really to bring up the problems of his mental faculties away from the rest of the family in the hope his father will see sense and agree to taking on the need for further care. Guess what happens? You are correct, the two men find the large bag containing the heroin and wonder what on earth is going on, and when the baddies show up they put two and two together to make a potentially sticky situation for them both should the gangsters opt to eradicate them from the picture. And that is precisely what the crims want to do.

You could write this material yourself, couldn't you? It was basically Die Hard crossed with First Blood, after all. But while this kind of predictability could be comforting rather than wearing, for the seasoned action fan who prefers to see the clichés played out in their right place, what you were here for were the sequences where the towering Momoa dishes out the punishment on the bad men who are trying to hurt his family. Did I mention Charlotte has stowed away in the rear of the truck for the journey to the cabin and Stephanie shows up to escort her back? All part of ramping up the peril, and if you have seen enough of these things, you won't have a problem with that sort of easy button-pushing to sustain the audience's interest.

Anyway, the action itself featured such instances as Momoa throwing a flaming axe at a henchman then following it up with flammable liquid which turns said evildoer into a human torch, or more simply, doing his Australian drop bear impersonation (er, in Canada?!) and landing on an unwitting henchman from a great height. He also found a method of using the tongs from the hearth to hit back against the old home invasion business that we could see coming a mile off. Despite early reservations, it was worth sticking around to witness the highly eccentric way Momoa succeeded against the odds in the climactic battle with Dillahunt's laconic but (naturally) callous head villain, too (yes, he did the well worn murder of an underling who had displeased him to demonstrate his lack of interest in the sanctity of human life). It didn't mess about, had no great aspirations, but it was unfussy and muscular so in that manner, acceptable.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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