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Mark Owen’s Rueful Warrior starts off with a bang as we see our lead protagonist Yalalia (Michelle Fahrenheim), walking around a boiler room covered in blood and bruises as she wields a futuristic weapon. From there, she has a close-quarters confrontation with a group of humans that are aiming rifles and machine guns at her and demand she place her weapon on the ground.

How did we get to this point, though? The story follows Yalalia, an alien soldier who gets caught up in a conflict of moral and physical standings with a group of troopers from Earth. Her integrity is tested to the limit as she desperately attempts to maintain peace at all costs.

While the story never delves deep into the conflict between aliens and humans like it should have done, it is still a thought-provoking and immensely entertaining action film that moves at a break-neck pace. Clocking in at just 15-minutes in length, some may worry that the movie doesn’t have much room to deliver thrills. However, from the amazing opening scene all the way to the greatly chilling and exciting end, Owen’s film never feels too short.

“…an alien soldier who gets caught up in a conflict of moral and physical standings with a group of troopers from Earth.”

A large portion as to why Rueful Warrior works as well as it does is because of the performances from the cast, namely Michelle Fahrenheim as Yalalia. She delivers a remarkably raw and nuanced performance as the alien soldier. Right from the first time we see her, you get the sense that if you were to cross her, you would be in deep trouble.

But gratefully, she isn’t just a one-note character that’s dangerous, and that’s it. We are given a reason to care about her. In fact, we are given a reason to care about both her, an alien, and the human characters. We understand both sides of the conflict, making the tension rise to great heights during the action scenes. You’re rooting for Yalalia, but you’re also not entirely against the humans.

All of this makes us contemplate what the true intentions of the aliens and the humans are. Are the aliens really the “bad guys?” Rueful Warrior offers a deep perspective for both sides in an interesting way. At times it feels like the story could be explored in even more depth, but as a fun action film that will make you think after the credits roll, this certainly does the trick.

Rueful Warrior (2020)

Directed and Written: Mark Owen

Starring: Michelle Fahrenheim, Oliver Park, Claire Cartwright, Christina Forrest, Simon Pengelly, Georgia Annable, James Ballanger, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Rueful Warrior Image

"…chilling and exciting..."

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