Run Time: 97 minutes
What to Expect: A John Wick influenced action film about a hitman turned preacher.
Gabriel Sabloff (Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End, Samson) writes, directs, and edits the fast-paced action thriller Beckman (2020). Inspired by the John Wick series, this tale of an ex-hitman turned Reverend out for revenge is an inoffensive and decent watch. Far better than the usual dross made by studios like Universal 1440 Entertainment (Bulletproof 2, Welcome to Sudden Death).
After a brutal gunfight with an assailant in an auto repair shop, hitman Aaron Beckman (David A.R. White) is tired and wounded. Seeking refuge and medical attention, he stumbles into a Community Church in San Pedro, California, led by Reverend Phillip (Jeff Fahey). Refusing to be taken to a hospital, Beckman gives Phillip $350,000 and asks him to patch him up. Phillip agrees to stitch his wounds, bandage him, and help Beckman recover.
While recuperating, Beckman prays, asks for forgiveness, and renounces his violent past. He becomes a member of the Church and is baptized. After a few years, Beckman finds his voice and begins giving sermons.
When Phillip falls ill, he asks Beckman to take over as Reverend. Struggling in this new role, Beckman is surprised one night when a distraught and traumatized young woman, Tabitha (Brighton Sharbino), runs into his Church. Beckman takes her in and discovers she is Reverend Philips’ niece and needs support and protection. Over time, he develops a strong parental bond with her, treating her like his daughter.
Things change a year later when a group of thugs arrive at Beckman’s Church. With them is New Age cult leader Reese (William Baldwin). Tabitha was someone who broke away from Reese’s cult. The group has come to take her back. They kidnap Tabitha and kill one of Beckman’s parishioners in the process.
With Tabitha missing or presumed dead, Beckman must re-connect with his underworld ties. He utilizes the shadowy criminal organization, ‘The Network’ for information on the men who abducted Tabitha. However, with his newfound faith, committing murder will not be as easy for Beckman.
As Beckman, David A.R. White comes off more Sitcom Dad than hardened assassin. Nevertheless, White grows into the role a bit. I appreciate his stunt work and his willingness to engage in extensive fights put together by choreographer Gabriel Rodriguez. A fight that sees Beckman take on a vicious husband and wife assassin team was well staged and easy to follow.
Cinematography by Gabriel Sabloff and James Codeglia is vivid and sumptuous. The film is well-lit and professional looking. All low budget video-on-demand productions have no excuse not to look as good as this does.
A supporting cast that includes William Baldwin, Burt Young, and Jeff Fahey give credible performances during their limited screen time, which adds to the film’s quality.
I would have liked to have seen further explanation and detail behind Reese’s cult. His reasons for kidnapping young women for his occult rituals come across as opaque and quite bizarre.
In an era where current VOD releases make Lorenzo Lamas’ Snake Eater series look like Martin Scorsese films, one appreciates Sabloff’s efforts. Best recommended for viewing on a lazy afternoon or a long weekend.
By: John Matrix