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REVIEW: Braven (2018) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: Braven (2018)

Run Time: 94 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: A movie where the second half descends into sloppy mediocrity, wasting a good and willing cast

Here’s another VOD movie, although one of those ones where bigger names kind of step down a rung for something easier or as an interesting side project.  The two big names in this one are Stephen Lang and Jason Momoa.  The latter of which actually has a big hand in the movie, because it comes from his Pride of Gypsies production company.  With that, you might think it a good effort by all, and it is, apart from the hoaky script.

Momoa stars as Joe Braven, a man who lives out yonder running his own logging company.  He has a young family, but also a troubled father, Linden (Stephen Lang), who is suffering from dementia and causing trouble at local bars.  Joe takes Linden to their cabin retreat, even further into the wilderness for some quiet time.  But it turns out psychotic drug lord Kassen (Garret Dillahunt) has been using the cabin as a stash zone for heroin and does not want to leave witnesses, when all arrive at the dwelling at the same time.

The film has a good premise and lineup.  An ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ style wilderness action thriller that has a good supporting cast (Zahn McClarnon and Brendan Fletcher of ‘Rampage‘ repute are good actors) and it can also quite brutally violent — if you want to see a villain get killed by being struck directly in the face with a long-handled axe, this will be a movie of interest, because there are other kills like this too.  And of course, Lang and Momoa never phone it in.

However although having a good first half, the second half descends into stupidity.  In a simple action thriller, you can forgive plot holes, but if they upset the entire movie then they must be bad, and they are.  Numerous times you wonder who is more stupid, the heroes or the villains.  Momoa has ample opportunities to get his daughter to safety, yet blows it, as a poor narrative vehicle to lead us to the next rudimentary gunfight.

It’s not bad, for sure, I mean the Molotov Cocktail kill may be one of the best of 2018, but a lot of it just seems pointless and awkward.