The Raid but more notably the John Wick films put new focus on the stunt craft focused action sub-genre. These are the films that may have R-rated levels of gore and violence but are much more focused on the construction of extended action sequences and set pieces that’s a key part of the marketing strategy regardless of plot or characters. Atomic Blonde and the later Mission Impossible films are also examples. Veteran MCU stunt coordinator Sam Hargrove throws his hat into the ring with this directorial debut. He has brought some of his MCU collaborators with Chris Hemsworth in the lead and Joe Russo writing the screenplay. Upcoming MCU inductee David Harbour also shows up. The question is whether the film can stand out in what is becoming a crowded sub-genre.
It certainly won’t be because of the plot. It’s as generic as they come with Hemsworth’s bland mercenary being tasked with escorting the son of a drug lord from point A to B in a way that gains interest from both sides of the law. The films biggest problem is that with a running time just under two hours enough time is spent focused on the very uninvolving narrative in a way that distracts from just how impressive the craft-based action sequences are. The highlight is an incredibly impressive 11-minute sequence that goes across several action styles and is cut together 1917 style to look like it’s filmed in one take. It’s an obvious stand out but various moments have the crunch and brutality- combined with the strong filmmakers and stunt coordination typical of the best material in this sub-genre. It’s just a shame that every other elements of the film are representative of the kind of workmanlike but unspectacular action movie that are dime a dozen. Hargrove and his team are clearly talented and the upcoming sequel has the potential to be a major improvement but only time will tell,