Army of One Image

Army of One

By Andrew Stover | December 11, 2020

During the first act, Brenner’s past is left fairly vague until she’s met with the tragic fate of her husband, and her newfound craving for self-seeking justice kicks in. After her husband’s demise, there are transient glimpses of Brenner’s time in the Army, albeit the glimpses have less to do with her unique combat skills and more to do with her doggedness.

Brenner’s trek for vengeance hinges on her husband’s death, which was generally swift and abrupt yet somehow bereft of any genuine shock. The absence of any palpable tension is a result of predictability, ineffective build-up, and hollow antagonists. Gary Kasper’s overdone performance as the witless, tractable goon fails to uphold a comminatory presence. While Geraldine Singer’s eerily composed performance as Mama is substantially solid, the reasoning behind why almost everyone in the community serves Mama’s interests is rather hazy, daft, and takes you out of the film.

“…a paucity of suspense resulting from the familiar storytelling terrain…”

The rather hokey screenplay, written by Mary Ann Barnes, David Dittlinger, Ellen Hollman, and Stephen Durham, is proof of the film’s tonal imbalance and bloatedness. Halfway through, there are more illicit affairs regarding Mama’s empire that come to light, conveniently and distractingly so. While Army of One isn’t meant to be an overly solemn tale of revenge where the protagonist deeply questions their morality, there is a paucity of suspense resulting from the familiar storytelling terrain and the enfeebled stakes.

The comprehensive forests and isolated Alabama lakes confine the protagonist to an immersive setting where everyone can wander without being seen. An environment this vast should’ve intensified the stakes and atmosphere. Yet, there’s never a sincerely trepidatious or empowering mood encompassing Brenner’s perilous quest because of her character’s invincibility and unexplored stoicism.

Solely as an action-revenge flick, Stephen Durham’s Army of One deploys a handful of well-choreographed action sequences involving sharpened sticks, Rambo-esque traps, and blood-stained fists, which are amusingly complemented by Hollman’s flinty delivery of cheesy one-liners. However, despite Hollman giving it her all as an action star and proving to be an army of one, the uninspired screenplay and flimsy execution leave this revenge film nearly defenseless from mediocrity.

Army of One (2020)

Directed: Stephen Durham

Written: Mary Ann Barnes, Ellen Hollman, Stephen Durham, David Dittlinger

Starring: Ellen Hollman, Matt Passmore, Gary Kasper, Kendra Carelli, Stephen Dunlevy, Geraldine Singer, etc.

Movie score: 5/10

Army of One Image

"…unable to exploit the revenge formula or B-movie territory with great success."

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