NEW TO NETFLIX! Clearly, there is a glut of action films. So, how do filmmakers make their movies 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-covered lands. Amongst the usual gaggle of RPGs, 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 plotline.
Joe Braven (Jason Momoa) works at a lumber yard in the cold Canadian north. A hard worker by day and a loving husband and devoted 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.
All this sets 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 getaway cabin. 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 Kassen’s gang arrives at the same time. How’s that for getting all the main characters to a single location? The gangster and his henchmen lay siege to the cabin while Joe and Linden have to figure out how they’ll survive.
“…they find the hidden drugs, and Kassen’s gang arrives at the same time.”
Braven is a decent thriller. Good action, beautiful location, and as the primary, psychopathic villain 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 that Braven stands above the pack? While the film has all the right elements for a good action thriller, let’s just say that it’s fun yet forgettable.
I suspect this is, if anything, a vehicle for Jason Momoa to show that he can be an action star. While, yes, he can handle the action, he’s incredibly bland as the film’s star. He didn’t exactly shine as Aquaman in Justice League either. 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.
"…a vehicle for Jason Momoa to show that he can be an action star."
There is no mention of Washington state or West Coast. Why did Jason’s character drive a truck with Washington vehicle plates if it was shot 2500 miles away in New Foundland?