How hard is it to be a screenwriter in Hollywood? Pretty damn hard… and dangerous. That’s our two protagonists’ experience in Sean Kenealy and Eric Silvera’s comedy/thriller In Action. The film opens with Sean and Eric tied up in a darkened room about to be filleted by a dark, mysterious character, and then we flash forward to the duo sitting on a couch recounting the entire story.
The basic idea behind In Action is the “true life” story of our writer/director/actor team of Sean and Eric. The two reunited years later after film school only to discover that the worst student in their class had already sold three screenplays to the big studios. Jealousy motivates the pair to team up and write that one big story.
It’s here that we are brought into the pair’s brainstorm process, which involves a lot of swearing, sexual innuendo, and creative differences. Their film evolves into an action thriller, and of course, they use the internet for research on terrorism and large firearms. Just as they’re about to begin the first pitch to a studio, the pair is kidnapped, which leads back to them tied up in a darkened room. Who kidnapped our heroes, and what do they want?
“…tied up in a darkened room about to be filleted by a dark, mysterious character…”
In Action is not a perfect movie, but is worth watching if just for how it was put together by Sean and Eric. The film falls firmly into the ultra-low-budget film category. No budget means no fills. The movie is shot in two locations, primarily with the only actors in any given scene being Sean and Eric. They employ clever camera tricks and other forms of movie magic to pull off the film’s fight, chase, and explosion sequences. A big action scene involving a helicopter attacking them and ending with saving the girl is animated.
But again, it’s not a perfect movie. The film’s overall tone is a little too jokey, particularly in how the dialogue is delivered. It’s got that light, we’ re-in-on-the-joke vibe to it. There are copious amounts of voice-over dialogue representing the other “characters” that are jokey too and sounds like it was recorded in a sound-proof studio instead of on set. I think the film would have been ten times better if it shifted more toward the thriller genre and found a balance between the two.
As a comedy, laughs are derived from an over-abundance of f-bombs, sex jokes between the pair, and a lot of fast-talking one-liners. Dialogue comes at you fast and furious, which makes it hard to keep up at times and comes off as manic ranting versus a well-told joke.
Sean Kenealy and Eric Silvera’s filmmaking style and mixing of media push In Action over the recommendation line. A little more attention to the story and dialogue would have helped the final product immensely. What In Action proves is you don’t need a big budget to tell a story in any genre, including action, but you do need a good one.
"…you don’t need a big budget to tell a story in any genre, including action…"