Main cast: Jason Momoa (Joe Braven), Garret Dillahunt (Kassen), Zahn McClarnon (Hallett), Stephen Lang (Linden Braven), Jill Wagner (Stephanie Braven), Brendan Fletcher (Weston), and Sasha Rossof (Charlotte Braven)
Director: Lin Oeding
Joe Braven is a hunky, manly man who is also a devoted family man to his wife Stephanie and daughter Charlotte. They live in this perfect house in the mountains, and everything is fine… well, except for his father Linden, who has never been the same after experiencing an injury that affects his brain. The man’s condition is deteriorating, and Linden often ends up unintentionally starting fights from which Joe has to extricate him from. Joe understandably doesn’t want to send Linden to some home, but at the same time, the pressures of caring after his father are taking a toll on the entire family. Stephanie suggests that Joe and his father head off to the family cabin to try to heal the rift between the two men, so off they go, not knowing that Charlotte, fulfilling her function as the brat baggage, has stowed away at the back of the vehicle.
Meanwhile, the cabin is an improvised place to hide the cocaine stash belonging to Kassen after a delivery gone wrong, so the two men arrive just as Kassen and his men also show up to retrieve the cocaine. There is, predictably enough, no cellular signal to call for help, but fortunately, Joe has his bow and arrows while Linden has his gun. And oh god, won’t someone just shoot that annoying Charlotte for me?
Braven is a standard break-and-kill-everything film set in a gorgeous location, and Jason Momoa can always be relied on to do that sexy, mean, and effective action hero thing. To be fair, Joe isn’t an all-round perfect hero as he may seem on paper: he takes quite an amount of beating here, and Kaseen actually bests him in one-on-one combat. Nonetheless, Mr Momoa knows how to put on a show, and Stephen Lang is no slouch either. Even Jill Wagner’s character gets a fair shot at kicking rear ends here. Okay, Charlotte is occasionally useful, so I’m not too heartbroken that she predictably enough lives through the whole thing.
Still, there is something missing here. Much of the movie feels like a retread – I have seen a movie like this many times before – and as a result, I’m not feeling as much an adrenaline rush as I probably should. Not that this is a bad film – the fight scenes are competently choreographed, the main characters are likable, and the pacing kicks up a notch after the slower first half hour or so. This is a competent movie, therefore. It’s fine as a time-waster, but sadly, I don’t experience enough enthusiasm to say anything more to say about it. Braven is just too much of a formulaic, standard flick to generate the wow factor that would help it stand out from other generic action thrillers out there.