Braven Review

Braven (2018) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin


Director: Lin Oeding
Writers: Michael Nilon, Thomas Pa’a Sibbett
Stars: Jason Momoa, Jill Wagner, Stephen Lang

Jason Momoa is Joe Braven a logging company owner who lives with his wife, daughter and his father in the scenic Canadian wilderness who defends his family from a group of dangerous drug runners.

Raven as a plot and storyline was a little predictable and felt a bit like Cliffhanger (1993) in that aspect. That’s not to say you can’t be entertained, even if you can guess correctly what is coming next this movie is no exception to that. Momoa just off the back of playing Aquaman in the now regarded disappointing “Justice League” plays the title role and to be fair his acting is fine, in fact the acting in this movie isn’t an issue at all and stops the movie from crumbling all together.

Momoa is the all out action hero here and i’m glad he was cast as this role could have gone to the usual suspects in the vain of Jason Statham etc and I probably would have body swerved it on the basis that it would be sold as another run of the mill action flick. Never the less, that is what it ends up being anyway but casting Momoa (who was actually one of the very few plus points about Justice League) made me want to watch this.

His relationship with Jill Wagner who plays his wife Stephanie and their daughter Charlotte (Sasha Rossof) is fleshed out within the first 20 minutes of the film and we also get to meet Joe’s Dad Linden played by Stephen Lang and discover he has early signs of Dementia creeping in. Wagner and Rossof sadly don’t have a lot to do in the movie until the climatic end. I really thought the filmmakers where going down the predictable road of using the Wife and Daughter as hostage leverage but thankfully it did t play out like that. Lang on the other hand was a mixed bag. I had sympathy for his character in the beginning and his struggles to remember his actions in a bar one night wasn’t down to his alcohol consumption but his condition getting worse. Once the movie is in full flow we don’t really get to see this again as the character is actually required in a lot of key scenes and I kept thinking that his Dementia could be the downfall of the character.

Garret Dillahunt as the villain Kassen is what you expect from the movies “bad guy” he is cold and focussed on one thing and that is getting his drugs back off Braven. Well actually two things, killing the Braven family after he has done that. Dillahunt I remember in Looper (2012) and vaguely in 12 Years a Slave (2013) isn’t that memorable as a villain here. Thinking back to Cliffhanger (1993) and it’s villain in John Lithgow as Qualen added a charm and presence to the character. He had some memorable lines too. Dillahunt isn’t given much to work with other than acting “cold and focussed”

The cinematography in the film presents the beautiful landscape of Canada in all its glory. Brian Andrew Mendoza did a fantastic job capturing the scenery here and adding to the isolation of the situation. To be fair though, it must make a cinematographers life a lot easier when the location scouts inform him they are going to film in the mountains.

Overall, I wasn’t offended by “Braven” and actually enjoyed it for what it was. For an action film, yes it was a little predictable in the story and perhaps the characters could have been a bit more interesting but the acting was fine and some of the action sequences where okay. If you are a fan of Jason Momoa then I would recommend you see this as you will probably enjoy it.

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