I’m fascinated by the idea of the hero’s journey. Our hero goes on an adventure that tests their mettle and comes out stronger for it. In the case of writer/director Casey de Fremery’s War Path, our hero is tested by undoing the crimes he committed. Hopefully, he comes out on the other side as a better person and alive.
Our hero is Joel (Gary Nohealii), the muscle for crime boss Frank (Michael Ulmari). Along with his best friend, Eric (Erik Jorn Sundquist), the two are Frank’s most effective team in getting the job done. They possess all the qualities of effective intimidation — tough and slightly psychotic. Joel is a newlywed, and he wants to provide a good life for his bride, Sabrina (Liz Clare), but times are tough for everyone. The slumping economy hasn’t been good on organized crime, and Frank isn’t paying for hits like he used to. To make big money, Joel must pull off a big job… kill a police detective.
“To make big money, Joel must pull off a big job… kill a police detective.”
War Path explores the idea of a soulless hit man finding his moral center after marrying the love of his life. When Joel finds out his target is a family man, he flinches and can’t do the job. An angry Frank sends Joel’s best friend Eric to finish the job and take care of Joel while he’s at it. The two best friends are now caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Let the body count begin.
The film is essentially a chess game. Two players, Joel and Eric, are playing to win. Each one makes their move, the other counters. As a low-budget thriller, there is limited violence with lots of punching, blood, and clever, quick cuts. I love how director Casey de Fremery plays with drawn-out moments of suspense. I wouldn’t call it torture porn, but many of the characters and victims are tied and bound, accompanied by long pauses before the roll of fate is cast.
"…the film is essentially a chess game."