ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – M – Man Down (2015)

Director: Dito Montiel

Writer: Adam G Simon, Dito Montiel (Screenplay) Adam G Simon (Story)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Jai Courtney, Gary Oldman, Kate Mara, Tory Kittles, Clifton Collins Jr

 

Plot: In a post-apocalyptic America, former U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer searches desperately for the whereabouts of his son, accompanied by his best friend and a survivor.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing at Times

 

Story: Man Down starts in a post-apocalyptic America as we follow Gabriel Drummer (LaBeouf) and his best friend Devin Roberts (Courtney) searching for Gabriel’s son, we flash back to his marine training through his conversations with Counsellor Peyton (Oldman).

Through the film we learn how Gabriel handled himself in war when he lives his wife Natalie (Mara) and child Johnathan back in America, how he is prepared for this post-apocalyptic world that America is now and how far he would go to get his son back.

 

Thoughts on Man Down

 

Characters – Gabriel is a marine that believed he was fighting for the right thing but when the war came to America when he was away, he must search the destruction in hope of finding his son. Devin is the best friend and marine to Gabriel, he supports him through his missions and search for his son. Counsellor Peyton is the man learning about the mission that went wrong, as we learn that his mindset might not be as clean as we are led to believe.

PerformancesShia LaBeouf is good in this leading role showing a range we have questioned before. Jai Courtney is good in the supporting role showing us there is talent with the right material. Gary Oldman is great and that is how we like him calm and collective.

StoryThe story is told in four parts, as we follow Gabriel in his home life, war time, meetings with a counsellor and in the post-apocalyptic time, these timelines only confuse the story telling process as by the end of it we will find ourselves wondering just what actually happened to these men, what is real and what is not. By the end you will understand what happened but it does make certain parts feeling random, but the true message is important.

ThrillerThe thrilling side of the film does feel slow in places, it shows us certain moments only to make a complete switch in the final act.

SettingsThe settings do help keep us in the different location for each moment of the story, we can identify with each part of the story we are watching too.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act, and how it is shot is beautiful.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A lot of what we see is not as important.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard movie for the most part, it starts being confusing for the first hour but when it unfolds you will be taken back where this movie goes.


Overall: Slow and confusing nearly saved by a wonderful final act.

Rating

 

 

Empire State (2013)

logoDirector: Dito Montiel

Writer: Adam Mazer (Screenplay)

Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Michael Angarano, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Ben-Victor, Jerry Ferrara, Greg Vrotsos, Emma Roberts, Nikki Reed

 

Plot: Two childhood friends plan to rob an armoured car depository. An NYPD officer stands in their way.

 

Verdict: Not Good Enough

 

Story: We start with Detective Ransome questioning Eddie about the location of Chris, before going back to three months earlier where we meet out two friends in the 1980s New York. After getting rejected by NYPD our hero enters into the world of security pickups hoping to continue working towards a better future. After a robbery goes wrong Chris’ mentor gets killed and he gets harassed by the lead detective, relegated to night shifts where he learns how the company is screwing over its employees. With far too much time on his hands he starts to devise a plan to steal from this company firstly to look after the family of his deceased partner but soon his best friend is talking him into something bigger. He plans to rob the place with his friend but soon things get out of hand and he is left over his head.

This is loosely based on the real case so that takes us straight to the realms of interesting, but this ends up boring. The characters are all very bland and offer you no incentive to actually care about what happens. The whole case turns out to be a very messy outcome where everyone tries to outsmart the rest without getting very far. It all comes off very poorly and you can see why it ended up going straight to DVD. (3/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Liam Hemsworth: Chris family man in 1980s New York who wants to become a cop, after he gets rejected he ends up going into the security work. When he gets puts on night shifts he starts to consider the idea of robbing the place but he soon finds himself in way over his head. Liam ends up give a solid performance but things just aren’t clicking for him like they are for his brother. (5/10)

 liam

Dwayne Johnson: Detective James Ransome looking into the attempted robbery, he is straight talking and wants to make sure he gets to the bottom of the robberies that keep happening on Chris’ watch. Dwayne should be giving better performance than this, this really does disappoint from him after liking nearly all his other films. (4/10)

 

Michael Angarano: Eddie Chris’ fast talking friend whose relationship with Chris leads him to lose out of his chance at becoming a cop, he is the friend that the family dislikes due to his style which could end up leading Chris down the wrong road. Michael gives a solid performance and seems to be the only one to give any extra performance in his role. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: Filled with cops, gangsters and family members the support cast all help the characters try and move to the next stage but most are easily forgettable.

 

Director Review: Dito Montiel – He ends up with a messy film that doesn’t pull you in like it should even though we are looking at a real story. (3/10)

 

Action: Little action with one shoot out being the only highlight. (3/10)

Crime: Looking at the case but ends up losing its way. (6/10)

Thriller: You don’t get pulled in to the leaves you are meant to. (2/10)

Settings: New York always makes a good setting but in this it ends up not being used well enough. (5/10)

Suggestion: This is one to miss it really doesn’t pull you in like it should. (Miss)

 

Best Part: The shootout.

Worst Part: The rest.

What Could Have Been Better? – Give the story more intensity. Improve character development.

Lessons Learned: Liam Hemsworth is having no luck as a leading man.

 

Believability: Based on a real case. (7/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Opening Credits Rating: Reporting about what has happened with the robbery before classics 1980s music as our hero and friend cruise around their neighbourhood. (9/10)

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $11 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

Overall: Avoidable, Forgettable Plain

Rating 30