Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"Braven": two-paragraph review

2018's "Braven" is a wintry actioner directed by Lin Oeding and starring Jason Momoa (you know him best as Aquaman, Khal Drogo, and Conan), Stephen Lang (the old-but-muscular baddie Miles Quaritch in "Avatar"), and Garret Dillahunt. The story is relatively simple: Joe Braven (Momoa) is a logger with a wife and daughter (Jill Wagner and Sasha Rossof, respectively) who is currently taking care of his father Linden Braven (Lang), a tough man now suffering from incipient dementia. Joe owns a cabin some miles away from his main home, and a group of criminals breaks into the cabin one night, leaving a huge sack of drugs that they plan to pick up the following day. Unaware of any of this, Joe takes his father to the cabin so they can have a heart-to-heart about getting Linden into supervised care. Unbeknownst to Joe, his daughter Charlotte has stowed away in the truck, which complicates the situation when the criminals converge on the cabin to recover their drugs. Joe and Linden discover the drugs and see the enemy approaching, so their immediate priority is to get Charlotte to safety, then to see whether they can escape this situation alive.

"Braven" hits all the usual action-movie beats. While we don't get any exposition as to why Joe Braven seems to be combat-trained, despite being a logger, we're given to understand, through muted dialogue, that the man is a badass who knows his way around weapons and the wilderness. Filled with all the usual hilarious implausibilities, not to mention the regular complement of stupid bad guys who are little more than cannon fodder, "Braven" is nevertheless fairly entertaining in spite of its utter lack of originality. Momoa and Lang do a good job of portraying the prickly relationship between a concerned son and a once-tough father who is angry at his own deterioration. Dillahunt makes for a good, burly villain; I remember his stint on the TV series "Burn Notice," where he played a similarly dangerous hombre. I was disappointed that the killings, when they happened, weren't gorier; the movie's preview trailer had led me to believe I was in for some blood-soaked vengeance, but alas, it was not to be, with the exception of one delightful axe-meets-cranium scene. It's also strange that the wintry location in the film is never named; I had assumed it was somewhere in Alaska, but it turns out that "Braven" was filmed in Canada. All in all, I'd call "Braven" a decent piece of light entertainment. It doesn't offer anything new, it's very weak on characterization, and it's utterly predictable, but I had fun watching the story all the same.


Surprises Aplenty said...

Sometimes a mindless actioner is fun. I struggled through Stratham's English accent in Homeland - he is supposed to be a DEA or other American federal agent but the accent knocked me back into my room every time he spoke. Still, he looked good beating people up.

Completely off-topic, I found this list:
describing words banned from TV/ Movie posters in 1995. Some of them I didn't understand. But two were surprising.
NORK could not be used on a poster then. Does it mean something other than North Korea or North Korean?
SMOO : Does this have a different meaning than your old university?

You don't have to educate me; I thought you'd be amused. Unless those words are really terrible!

Kevin Kim said...

I declare myself amused. But all the same...

Urban Dictionary to the rescue!



I already knew "norks" was Aussie slang for "tits," but "smoo" was admittedly a new one to me.