Saturday, February 1, 2014

Stand Off (2013) Review:

If there's one actor that barely anyone hears about anymore it's actor Brendan Fraser. What now seems eons ago, Fraser was the top man after the hit action movie The Mummy (1999) was released. Not only did it showcase Fraser as a worthy candidate for action movies but it also made him very popular. Then about a decade later, he dropped off the face of the earth. As stated in his filmography, he's still making movies but for the most part it's voice work or live action films but with very limited releases. It's sad because Fraser is a very talented actor. Making things even more melodramatic is this small budget thriller that has trouble keeping everything together.

Brendan Fraser (the baby) & Yaya DeCosta
The story is about a struggling father (Martin McCann) who is looking to pay back a crime boss who lent him money. And like most situations that end up like this, they can't make the payment and are threatened by the boss to pay up or suffer dire consequences. In this case, the threat is the boss taking his son away. This particular plot isn't anything new but it works. And this movie would work out totally fine if that's the only plot that it stuck to. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Terry George the director and writer, along with Thomas Gallagher (another writer who only has one other credit) included a number of other subplots that were not necessary to have. And it's not like Terry George is a bad director, he also headed Hotel Rwanda (2004) which many people favor.

But it's the writing that really takes away the possibilities to this movie. Along with the crime boss plot, there's a subplot about a character being a father and not knowing about it (and in the end that isn't clearly resolved), a character has relations to a mob and tries to flee from their troubles (and that isn't clearly resolved either), and there's also subplot dealing with having to keep a secret from a person they care about. It's just too many stories in one situation and this makes this hour and a half minute thriller feel longer than it's supposed to be. What may confuse viewers though is the genre that this movie is putting itself into.

Here, it is labeled as a comedy and drama. But after viewing it, the audience may consider it more of a thriller and drama. There are a couple of scenes that may have people chuckle but it's questionable whether those moments were intentional or not. I didn't laugh very often because there didn't seem to be anything too funny to laugh at. I can certainly look back and recall the scenes that were supposed to be funny but they didn't carry much charm to them to make the audience laugh. They were very weak attempts. There was definitely drama though, because of all the subplots. And although the subplots were jumbled together, the story line did have some interesting character development. Of course, the effectiveness dropped when the subplots weren't resolved however. The movie may also feel long because the title accurately portrays the majority of the running time. The conflict is presented as a stand off hostage situation.

Colm Meaney
With this kept in mind, it will be obvious to viewers that Mr. Fraser will not be doing much of his action work he did in the past. The main plot doesn't even focus on him which is kind of sad considering he is what would grab people to see this film. As for acting goes, it's alright. Fraser does his best but again because he's not the character of main focus, the audience may feel cheated leaving a disappointed feeling. What was different to experience though was the slew of Irish actors in the cast. Colm Meaney (Law Abiding Citizen (2009) as the detective did have some charm. Also actors Martin McCann (Clash of the Titans (2010)) and David O'Hara (Hotel Rwanda (2004)) were interesting to listen too as well. Even Yaya DeCosta (a Siren from Tron: Legacy (2010)) gave a unique performance as an African refugee.

Every other element to the story was decent too. Because the setting takes place in Ireland, it's nice to see a different set of scenery than always in New York or some other American city. That's credit to Mr. Des Whelan. He also works the camera for many other films recently such as Thor: The Dark World (2013) and The Expendables 2 (2012). Foy Vance's musical composition to the film was ok. Nothing that stands out, considering much of the time it was absent or replaced by what seemed to be Irish folk music. This seemed out of place for the scenes they were inserted into. But there were also some dramatic scenes that did work with his music. That's why my opinion is on the fence for his score. Overall, it's watchable but it can feel cluttered.

Although it includes Fraser in the cast list, his presence feels wasted, even though all the actors have less star power. Along with a script stuffed with numerous subplots, the film may feel longer than it’s supposed to.

Points Earned --> 5:10

No comments:

Post a Comment