Its 3:31 pm
Its been a while since the cheetah and I have done a gritty indie action-adventure film here. We were discussing this as I was prepping our interview with actor Mike Ferguson.
So when I went out for my weekly library/video store run on Tuesday,I happened to see “Silencer” and remembered that Mike had a supporting role in it,so I bought a copy,gotta support working actors,right?
We knew nothing about the movie other it got a 3.9 on IMDb but you already know that don’t mean squat to Paladin and me,we just want a good time…..
The film opens up in Iraq in 2008,Frank (Johnny Messner),along with Timothy (Tito Ortiz) and Dawson are a three man sniper team who are providing security for a squad of Marines picking up a Iraqi family whose father knows a lot of intel.
But the squad is ambushed and Dawson is killed by a hidden sniper,Frank breaks cover to assist his teammate and good friend but it’s too late. He then turns and helps rescue the pinned down squad…
Present day New Mexico and we Frank has a gas station/car restoration business that is doing well. He is living with a good woman named Cassie (Nicki Leigh) and her daughter,12 year old Shannon. Life on the surface seems great but Frank is quiet and guarded,even around Cassie.
Frank takes Cassie and Shannon deliver one of Frank’s jobs to man named Ocha (Danny Trejo) As he starts to enter the house,Frank is met by a goon named Nels (Chuck Liddell) who tries to intimidate Frank who then sets Nels right. Nels wants to push it but is stopped by Laz (Robert LoSardo) who knows Frank. He guides Frank to the house where he offers Frank a drink to which Frank declines.
Laz takes Frank to Ocha…who is standing in his daughter Nicki’s room. It is her birthday and Ocha,despite being a major cartel figure,dotes on his daughter. Nicki asks if she can have her bike to ride early and Ocha says yes and assigns Nels to keep tabs on her.
Ocha pays Frank for the job but when Frank sees a LOT more money then expected,he knows that once again that Ocha is trying to recruit Frank into his crime family. Frank once again,says “No” and we know its not the first time he has been asked.
Ocha gives him the money anyways and Frank takes it and leaves.
As time goes by,we discover why Frank is so tightly wound up and its a shocking moment and clearly explains why he is so bottled up. He has PSTD and hasn’t found a way to deal with it,he attempts to reach out to Timothy but hangs up the phone.
As Christmas approaches,the news reports that Ocha’s daughter has been killed while riding her new bike and it was a hit & run. As Cassie and Frank are watching this,Laz pulls up with two other thugs and says Ocha wants to see him and it isn’t a request.
Frank agrees and when Ocha tells Frank to do this job or else…Ocha knows where the man is who killed his daughter and Frank is to kill him before going into police custody.
Frank is now put into a vise,either does this job or else he risks putting Cassie and Shannon in harm’s way…..a hard choice for a haunted man…..
Did the cheetah and I like “Silencer” ?? Yeah,we did….it was a lot better then I expected.
While the story,editing and direction were by the numbers,it was the acting that really lifted “Silencer” up a few notches.
Gotta praise the whole cast for doing a great job here. Messner,who sounds like he smokes a carton a day,chased by shots of barbwire,does a fine job playing Frank. Quite honestly you are shocked to see he lasted as long as he has while maintaining tight control but that armor is cracking as Frank is turning to the bottle more and more.
Danny Trejo also puts in some good work here,his Ocha is a interesting character,brutal cartel drug lord but everyone has a breaking point and losing his daughter is Ocha’s – even a drug lord can suffer a broken heart.
One great scene has Ocha in a happy mood allowing his daughter her bike and Nels bitching about playing babysitter,Trejo goes from happy papa to deadly serious in a blink of an eye and its chilling and very bad ass.
Nikki Leigh as Cassie also was quite good but the relationship between she and Frank is underwritten,we never learn how they got together and why she has distrust towards Frank. Her anger towards him is good but we never understand why. She is a quite a looker as well and I can see her doing bigger films in her near future.
But the two biggest surprises were Ortiz and Liddell,wow,those ex-MMA greats are naturals on camera and kudos to casting director Lauren DeNormandie for casting them.
Liddell,who is a Hall of Famer UFC fighter,had to play Nels as a bit of a bitch. Not easy to do for a guy like him,right? Wrong,Nels was slimy,wormy and underhanded and Liddel nailed him perfectly. I sort of wished the script had injected a bit more humor into the role but he still did great.
Ortiz was equally good as Frank’s loyal friend Timothy,who has watched his friend struggle yet willing to stay and watch his back. When the poo hits the fan,Timothy has Frank’s back no matter what and the last scene of the film shows the extent of Frank and Timothy’s friendship and it is moving.
Oh,and how did Mike do? He played a bar manager quite well and has a nice scene with Messner and Ortiz….
As noted,the story by Sean Mick is a little underwritten…”Silencer” has a lean 80 minute run time,this is a case that an extra 10 minutes for backstory would have worked wonders.
Timothy Woodward,Jr. directed “Silencer” and while it was still choppy in some places,it was a improvement over the last film I watched of his,”Checkmate”.
Actually I loved the concept of “Checkmate” but hated the finished film. “Silencer” is a much better and polished film and it grates on me that “Checkmate” ended up a bad movie because like “Silencer”,it had a great cast as well…..
“Silencer” is rated R for violence and features a 10 minute “Making Of….” short.
This is a solid action-adventure film that is worth picking up,you’ll be entertained.
The cheetah and I gave this a thumbs/two paws up!
What recent action films have you watched lately? Drop us a comment below.