Monday, September 5, 2016

Standoff (2015)

Number Rolled: 89
Movie Name/Year: Standoff (2015)
Tagline: A deadly game only one can survive.
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 86 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Goldrush Entertainment, First Point Entertainment, Maple Leaf Films
Producer: Bernard Bourret, George Castrounis, Hayden Christensen, Tove Christensen, Lee Clay, Eric Gozlan, Richard Iott, Rosie Komadina, Michael Wexler
Director: Adam Alleca
Writer: Adam Alleca
Actors: Thomas Jane, Laurence Fishburne, Ella Ballentine, Jim Watson, Joanna Douglas, John Tench, Ted Atherton, Laura de Carteret

Blurb from Netflix: After witnessing an assassin’s slaughter, a young girl holes up in a farmhouse with a suicidal vet, who must use wits and guts to fend off the killer.

Selina’s Point of View:
Action & adventure? No… no… I don’t think so. I buy that this film was a thriller, but action & adventure? Not so much. Just because a movie has some shooting in it, doesn’t make it an action film. I’m sorry, it just doesn’t.

This film is labeled 2015 on Netflix, but it came out in the U.S. this year. When Trust the Dice put out our “Top 20 Movies to Look Out for in February (2016)” it showed that both Cat and I had very similar desires to see this film. It was at a nearly identical place in each of our lists.

Laurence Fishburne (Roots, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Colony) is the kind of actor that can draw in an audience really well. Not only with his acting, but just with his name. If I see that Fishburne is going to be in a film, I give serious consideration to wanting to see it, even if the trailer doesn’t really speak to me or I’m not fond of the genre.

Films like this that take place all in one small setting with very little to distract from the story and the actors can be hit or miss. The actors need to be on point and the story needs to be as flawless as humanly possible. There are no fancy explosions to fall back on. There’s no CGI to catch the eye of the audience.

I feel like Standoff was successful, despite being the type of film easily screwed up. I wasn’t bored at any point during the movie and I absolutely believed the characters.

There was a short speech near the beginning of the film, delivered by Fishburne that reminded me of Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Pulp Fiction – which is not a bad thing – and the kid, Ella Ballentine (Time Tremors, Clara's Deadly Secret, Against the Wild 2: Survive the Serengeti), really sold the part of the traumatized little girl to me. I believe Ballentine could have a hell of a career to look forward to if she escapes the curse that affects children in Hollywood.

Despite how good I believe the movie was, I found a few moments to be a little meh. Each of those moments were very small but served to take me out of the story for a few minutes before I could get back into it. There were enough of those moments that I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to consider this film a favorite, but it was still very, very good.

FYI, I had a little WTF moment when I found out one of the producers of this film was Hayden Christensen (Jumper, Awake, Vanishing on 7th Street). You know, the guy responsible for killing the dreams of nerds everywhere with his rendition of Anakin Skywalker. I have no damn clue what to make of that.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was glad to see that the dice had given us this movie. It made #16 on my Top 20 list when it was released back in February of this year. It seems like it had a rather limited release. I don’t remember seeing it hit any of my local theaters.

That aside, my prediction back then was that it would be “really intense” and “one of those movies in close-quarters where the small cast shines.”

I am happy to say that I was right.

Laurence Fishburne (Ride Along, The Signal, Hannibal) as a sociopath is a terrifying thing. His character had just enough unpredictability that it had me wondering what he was going to try next. Thomas Jane (Drive Hard, The Veil, Before I Wake) deftly captured the essence of the man that had crawled into a bottle and never came out until meeting little Bird, played by Ella Ballentine (The Captive, The Calling, Anne of Green Gables).

That young lady is going places. There was both an innocence and maturity to Ballentine’s delivery that was engaging and just made me want to reach through the screen and hug her.

I can’t think of a single thing that I could list to fault this film. It’s gripping, believable, a heart-pounder, and heart-stirring. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 53%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 44%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

Movie Trailer:

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