- Finesse Movie Reviews
Khal Drogo's character in the Game of Thrones television series has a special place in many people's hearts as does Aquaman in DC universe films. A major reason is due to the bare chested Maori-tattooed giant of Jason Momoa. In fact, most individuals may have come to relate him to the role of the rugged outlier mystic hero/king as expressed in GOT and DC universe. So when he dons a very different cloth to play the Joe Braven in the movie Braven, it seems rather odd. Nonetheless, he plays it well, tardy at times but good enough to still hold the audience's attention.
In the film, Momoa plays the logger Braven a loving family man who has a doting daughter Charlotte (played by Sasha Rossof) with his wife Stephanie (Jill Wagner). Braven's father, Linden (Stephen Lang) struggles with dementia which strains his relationship with the son. In one of his manic episodes, Linden heads to the local bar and causes a ruckus after confusing a stranger for his long dead wife. When Braven comes to collect him from the bar, the issue degenerates into a full blown bar fight with the police having to fight leading to a brief arrest of Linden. Braven resolves to talk to his father about the need for specialized care. Once they get home, Braven preps for a son-father talk at a family cabin belonging to his father. However, two unexpected things happen to the father-son pair. The first one is the realization that Charlotte had hid in the back of the truck and ridden with them to the cabin.
Before Braven can drive Charlotte back home to her mother, he notices that they are being observed by individuals hiding in the woods. Unbeknown to them, a fellow logger who had been transporting some drugs for some ruthless operatives using logs as a cover had had an accident. He had taken the stash and hidden them inside Braven's often-unused cabin. The casing was being done by the individuals who thought that there was a plan by Braven and his father to take possession of the drugs. It is clear to Joe and his father that the operatives are not willing to leave any witnesses and so they pitch up for a fight and in their wake leave lots of dead bodies.
At first Braven attempts to save the situation by attempting to give out the drugs. Marooned in the house with a sickly father and a scared daughter it sees like the right thing. Then he sees his friend shot before his eyes and decides to act against the whole bunch of drug dealers. His father marks them and shoots at them giving Braven the chance to leave the compound and head to an outpost to seek for help using the emergency radio. The thugs split some following Braven other's remaining within in wait. In the ensuing drama, Braven's father is shot dead, but not before killing his own fair share of the dealer's crew. Meanwhile, Charlotte seeks help by serachng for a signal to contact the mother who in turn contacts the local sheriff's office. In the end a showdown between Braven and Kassen the main thug results in kassen being thrown off a cliff to his death.
Looking at the movie from beginning to the end one wouldn't help noticing the amount of raw action in the movie. There amount of gory in the film is meant to make a statement. Yet, there is something missing. The film lacks the coherence that make action drama films tick. First, of all the movie sequence is quite disjointed. At one point Braven is in the house the next minute he is out on a jet ski, another moment he is up the mountains running. The antagonist are also the most uncoordinated bunch. In fact, they are made to look like amateurs and not the heavy hitting drug operatives that they are supposed to be. Kassen (Garret Dillahunt), the main bad guy leaves a lot to be desired. When engages Braven in a battle of wits it seems that even for his lack of military and criminal acumen Braven is much smarter. The only time Kassen seems rabid is when he uses a diner table to hit someone who owes him.
The director, Lin Oeding undoubtedly had a good story line but failed in numerous places. The inclusion of Stephen Lang as a main supporting actor was supposed to aid in the film. It did and it may have been the only remarkable thing about the film. If this film required a reboot, then it would have to be chopped and re-fixed in very many places. Lacking in high tech visual effects it would qualify for a respected indie movie. Then again, other movies such as Virginie Besson-Silla's Lucy achieved a lot with much less. Thus said, Braven had a good story and a promise and that was all there was to it.
This was that scenario. Epic, badass, and kept me pumped with adrenaline the entire time.