Main cast: Ethan Hawke (Travis Conrad), Xu Qing (Lin Bisset), Paul Anderson (Jim Morrow), Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Amahle), Tyrone Keogh (Keith Zera), Jeremy Yong (Christopher Bisset), Jenna Upton (Kate Conrad), Owen de Wet (Adam Conrad), Nathalie Boltt (Dr Helen), Liam Cunningham (Wetzler), and Rutger Hauer (Frank)
Director: Brian Smrz
The publicity materials for 24 Hours to Love name drop John Wick, and I can see why. There are guns involved. Also, the protagonist Travis Conrad is a former assassin who lost his wife and son a year ago, and his former employer, the Red Mountain, wants to recruit him again.
The Red Mountain is this globe-spawning super-duper organization responsible for all kinds of horrible things, and of late, one of them, Keith Zera, has agreed to testify to the UN about the atrocities committed by those bastards. Jim Morrow, a high-ranking operative of the Red Mountain who is also a close friend of Travis, makes an offer that Travis finds too good to resist. Keith Zera is under the protective custody of Interpol agent Lin Bisset, who has proven herself pretty hard to kill, what with her pistol that never runs out of bullets and an aim that never misses no matter what.
Travis seduces Lin to gain access to the information on her cell phone, and he soon locates Keith’s whereabout. However, Lin catches on to him shortly after, and the resulting shoot-out sees her putting a few bullets fatally into him. I did tell you that she never misses. Fortunately for Travis, the Red Mountain has perfected the ability to bring the dead back to life… well, temporary life – 24 hours to be exact. They want to extract the whereabouts of their target from Travis, with the full intention of killing him once they’ve had that information. He foils their efforts, of course, and with less than a day to live, he decides to do as much damage as he can to the Red Mountain while, perhaps, atoning for his sins by saving Lin’s son from his employer to make up for not being there to save his wife and son.
This one has lots of gun-fu and explosions, although not to the scale of that found in the John Wick movies. However, what makes this one work is Ethan Hawke. Let’s face it, he’s excellent in playing the angst-filled, broody man with sad, haunted eyes, and his Travis is John Wick taken up a few more notches. Mr Hawke can emote and perform with nuances far better than Keanu Reeves in those movies, so what could have been cheesy in another movie – Travis’s frequent hallucinations of his wife and son – end up being heartrending in a way that is comparable of Maximus’s dreams of his wife and son in Gladiator.
Interestingly, the movie never wants to turn Travis into a woobie. It constantly reminds me of the cold-blooded side of him, and I really like this refreshing kind of honesty about that character. There is no whitewashing, nothing of that sort. Our poor protagonist just wants to make things right based on his own personal code rather than on good or evil, and the end result is a character that is far more complex and fascinating than he otherwise would be.
24 Hours to Live contain many tropes associated with honor among lowlives, masculine protagonist’s bereavement, and such, but it isn’t a homage to Hong Kong noir like those John Wick movies. It’s just the story of a man who have loved and lost, only this man happens to be a cold-blooded assassin who is nonetheless moved by his own loss to prevent another person from suffering the same. The movie ends on a note that opens the possibility of a sequel, but I am far more interested to know when the Travis Conrad and John Wick crossover is coming out.