Eye For Film >> Movies >> Army Of One (2020) Film Review
Army Of One
Reviewed by: Jane Fae
Army Of One opens with…a detective about to retire, but deciding (for reasons) to storm into a house allegedly containing a bunch of psychopathic murderers at dead of night. We can guess how that will end (even if the outcome is not actually shown). But it leaves partner Dillon (Matt Passmore) seriously injured. So, convalescing, Dillon heads off into what (to my UK eye) looks suspiciously like redneck country. Or Bible Belt. I dunno: are those the same thing?
At any rate, they have preachers, an accent that approximates to what I believe is often referred to as “deep south” – and families that appear to consist of at least a dozen children.
He is accompanied by wife, Brenner (Ellen Holman). Unfortunately for them, our pair of lovebirds take shelter during a downpour in what the film’s blurb describes as a 'Cartel compound'. Personally, I’d call it a safe house. But same difference.
Anyways, bad mistake! The rednecks turn up - of course they do! Dillon is shot and Brenner….well, she survives, despite being shot at near point blank range with the same gun that just killed her husband. Unbelievably poor shot! Also, bad mistake because, as a swift flashback reveals, Brenner just happens to be a Ranger – no, not the Park species of same – and they “never give up”.
So it’s eyes down, look in for a pretty typical revenge movie. Think John Wick. Only it wasn’t Brenner’s dog that got shot!
The baddies are suitably bad: into gun running, moonshine and trafficking (for starters). These are the sort of villains that are just asking to be shot, stabbed, garroted or otherwise brought down and, obligingly, they line up one by one for some or all of these. The action is realistic, gory, a little bit sadistic.
But there are some interesting sub-plots in play. The 'clan' behind all this badness is a matriarchy, headed by and ruled with a tongue of iron by Mama. This adds an interestingly different theme: you kill my man, I’ll take your boys… Perhaps that reflects in part the fact that the writing team includes two women (Mary Ann Barnes and Ellen Holman, who also plays the vengeful Ranger) to one guy (David Dittlinger).
So even when the film is in full-on line ‘em up and gun ‘em down mode, it still has time to pause and focus, however briefly, on the plight of women in such a society
Also in the pot and adding a slightly different flavour: there’s a new sheriff in town (Niko Foster) who has not (yet) fallen prey to Mama’s blandishments. And in the midst of a bunch of 'mouth-breathers', there is Lawrence, not so much Mama’s boy as mommy’s college boy. You can tell he’s not like the rest because he’s learning French, can use the internet and…doesn’t have a big manly beard or rippling muscles.
If anything bad happens to Mama, you can just see him opening a motel and keeping her desiccated body up in the attic!
And there…well, there, in a nutshell, you have it. This is not grand drama or thought-provoking oeuvre. All the same, director Stephen Durham has produced an efficient, gripping revenge movie that ticks all the boxes and kept me engrossed for the 90 minutes it took to watch it.
Creds, too, to lead actor Ellen Hollman, who is rapidly gaining a reputation for action roles - apparently she is a serious ju-jitsu practitioner and will be in Matrix 4 as well as another upcoming action adventure, Monster Problems.Reviewed on: 20 Dec 2020
If you like this, try:Kill Bill: Volume 1