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Tuesday, June 26, 2018


(Jason Momoa)

This is a blue-collar action movie that features a Newfoundland family battling a home invasion by drug smugglers. (Review by Patrick Compton – 5/10)

The most eye-catching element in this by-the-numbers action movie is the wintry landscape of Newfoundland well captured by cinematographer Brian Andrew Mendoza.

Logging boss Joe Braven (a hunky Jason Momoa) initially finds himself weighed down by the responsibility of looking after his father (Stephen Lang) who is suffering from dementia after a workplace accident. His problems are then accentuated when he discovers a drugs cache in his hunting lodge in the mountains that has been stashed there by a work colleague looking to supplement his logging wages.

Braven’s troubles have now multiplied way beyond the simple issue of whether to institutionalise his troublesome dad as he and his family face a life or death struggle against a drugs gang who arrive to claim “what’s theirs”. 

In this respect, there’s more than a hint of the violent spirit of Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs as the Braven family – including Joe’s wife Stephanie (Jill Wagner) and young daughter Charlotte (Sasha Rosoff) – strive to overcome a home invasion by the gang led by the ruthless Kassen (Garret Dillahunt).

The film is directed by Lin Oeding, a former stuntman, who knows how to construct some fairly brutal action sequences that involve knives and bow-and-arrows as well as guns. The script, however, is nothing to get excited about while the plotting takes some serious short cuts.

As for the theme, it’s a predictable love letter to the good old family unit that may have its problems, but is still more than a match for the evil forces that move in the outside world.

If you’re looking to spend a couple of uncomplicated hours watching a simple-minded action movie with a fair degree of nasty violence in the snow, then Braven is the movie for you.

Braven opened in Durban on June 22. – Patrick Compton