Clearly, there is a glut of action films. So, how do filmmakers make their films stand out from the pack? They either change the style of action or fighting; change the environment or setting; or add a little star power. In Braven, director Lin Oeding takes the action to snow. Amongst the usual gaggle of RPG’s, he adds hunting tools, like hand axes and the bow and arrow. Finally, the star power comes from Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa. Let’s not forget to wrap it all together with a loose plot line.
Joe Braven (Jason Momoa) works at a lumber yard in the cold Canadian north. A hard worker by day and a loving father at night to his wife, Stephanie (Jill Wagner) and daughter, Charlotte (Sasha Rossof). Life would be perfect except for an alcoholic father, Linden (Stephen Lang) and a desperate co-worker Weston (Brendan Fletcher), who makes extra money transporting drugs hidden in the trees they cut down.
“…how’s that for getting all the main characters to a single location?”
All this to set the stage for a confrontation between Joe and drug kingpin, Kassen, played by Garret Dillahunt. Fortunately for Weston, when his truck breaks down, it’s near Joe’s vacation. Weston hides the drugs there, while he goes back to town to deal with Kassen.
Meanwhile, after breaking up a bar fight started by a drunk Linden, Joe takes him on an unexpected trip to the cabin to dry him out and have a much-needed son-father talk. The talk appears to go well until they find the hidden drugs and the drug gang lead by Kassen arrives just in time. How’s that for getting all the main characters to a single location? The gangster lays siege on the cabin while Joe and Linden figure out how to survive.
“…Dillahunt is at his Dillahuntiest.”
Braven is a decent thriller. Good actions, beautiful location and as the main psychopath Garret Dillahunt is at his Dillahuntiest. Dillahunt stands out as the main bad guy, almost to the detriment of his fellow actors. But does this mean, Braven stand above the pack? While Braven has all the right elements for a good action thriller, let’s just say that it’s fun and forgettable.
I suspect this is, if anything, a vehicle for Jason Momoa to show he can be an action star. Well yes, he can do action, but he’s incredibly bland in this film star. He didn’t exactly shine as Aquaman in Justice League. Looking handsome and strutting around with big muscles, doesn’t make you an action star. There’s that little thing about charisma or what Simon Cowell calls it—the X-Factor.
You’ll like Lin Oeding’s Braven, if you’re a fan of action films, have time for yet another action film, or are interested in seeing more of Jason Momoa or Garret Dillahunt.
Braven (2018) Directed by Lin Oeding. Written by Mike Nilon, Thomas Pa’a Sibbett. Starring Jason Momoa, Garret Dillahunt, Stephen Lang, Jill Wagner, Zahn McClarnon.
3 out of 5 stars