posted 4 May 2018, 12:48 by Paul Woodward

Genre: Action / Drama

Stars: Jason Momoa / Stephen Lang / Garret Dillahunt / Jill Wagner

Director: Lin Oeding

Certificate: 15

Run Time: 1hr 34min

Year: 2018

Braven is a cat and mouse action thriller starring Aquaman, sorry, Jason Momoa. The film centres around the Braven family, Joe’s father Linden has developed dementia and floats between moments of clarity – Joe’s wife Stephanie suggests he takes his father to their cabin and whilst spending time together in the wilderness discuss his health and future care. Joe’s daughter sneaks along too. Unbeknownst to Joe one of his workers at his logging company has stashed a whole load of Heroin at his cabin and shortly after arriving the Braven’s find themselves trapped by the bad guys out to recover their drugs and leave no witnesses behind.

It’s a pretty standard action film, it does build to a frantic conclusion as Braven and the baddies clash as he battles to protect and save his father and daughter. It’s nothing special but it’s still enjoyable, even if it lacks the impact or peril of other similar themed films. It starts off as a drama centering around Joe’s fathers Dementia before half way through descending into an action thriller, but I think the emotional edge the film tries to establish by doing this falls a little flat. The action is cool and with plenty of flying axes keeps you enticed with the later part of the film.

I do have to tip my hat to the film makers for trying to make this film as different as possible from similar films – the strong drama aspect at the beginning, the art house style to the filming and the excellent cinematography. The arty shooting style gives the film an edge of realism, helping it seem less glossy and fantastical and the twist in how Braven wins the day I doubt anyone will see it coming I certainly didn’t.

Although it’s set in America, the film was actually shot on location in Newfoundland in the depth of winter. So, there is lots of glorious shots of the snowy wilderness, which is beautiful to look at – reminded me a little of ‘Wind River’ which also has fantastic snow filled wilderness cinematography.

It’s not an action film I’ll probably watch again, but it is worth a look if you have the time and its attempt at realistic gritty action make it a lot more satisfying than a lot of lower budget action films out there. Momoa also does well not falling into his gruff hard man persona (as perfected in Stargate Atlantis) in a film where doing just that would have suited the role but playing it a more natural way heightens the tension as it’s not obvious he’s going to kick all their asses making the situation feel more dangerous and tense.


Review By Woody