Thursday, June 11, 2020

Review: A Soldier's Revenge

Release date: June 16, 2020
Running time: 138 minutes
Starring: Neal BledsoeRob Mayes, AnnaLynne McCord

Haunted by wartime horrors, Civil War soldier-turned-bounty-hunter Frank Connor (Bledsoe) spends his time post-war polishing off two things: whiskey and fugitives. When two desperate children arrive on his doorstep and enlist his help to find their missing mother (McCord), Frank must face his past in order to take down the notorious Major Briggs (Mayes), who he has his own score to settle.

A Soldier's Revenge is a good, old-fashioned western revenge movie with the added complication of a couple of kids.  The film has Frank seeking out a safe place for these children, but also trying to stay one step ahead of Mayes who is also actively hunting them.  This leads to plenty of interactions between people of questionable morals as seemingly everyone is looking for the missing mother or the kids.  And A Soldier's Revenge nails the wild west revenge theme with very good western costumes, plenty of gunplay, and tense scenes between feuding foes.  The suspense of your classic western standoff is present multiple times in the movie.  And the main characters are well cast and acted.  Bledsoe is very enjoyable as Frank, with his confident and damaged persona.  His antagonist Mayes is likewise entertaining as your classic, unpredictable western foe.  And McCord is enjoyable as a strong but scared mother looking for her kids.  

However, this film suffers from some odd choices.  First and foremost is some very bad CG.  For a western with several gunfights, the gunfire effects should have been spot on.  However, there is noticeable CG for both the barrel bursts, smoke, and any resulting blood from this.  It is instantly noticeable and takes away from what could be a tense gun fight.  And the people that do get shot don't get noticeable wounds.  There is one scene where a person is shot in the head with no spray, no wound, and no resulting pooling blood.  It really is an odd choice--especially considering there aren't a ton of gunfights in the film--and pulls you out of what could be an exciting scene.  Additionally, there are some strange dialog choices.  For the most part, it sounds authentic--at least movie western authentic--but there are several lines that sound too modern for the time period.  The movie also seems to be longer than it has to be.  The film is well over two hours long but it seems like it could have been edited down without losing much.  And although Frank is haunted by his past, which is revealed progressively throughout this film, there is really only one scene that is shown over and over.  It was a nice touch to slowly reveal more of this, but it also would have made more sense to show additional scenes of the demons that haunt him.  And finally, there are some instances where scenes are spliced in that do not seem to be part of the general scenery, like a shot was cut in to make you think that you were somewhere else but the result is too noticeable to pass muster.

A Soldier's Revenge has a classic western revenge feel with good costumes and beautiful western scenery that suffers from poor CG and some odd story choices.

Rent it.
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