First things first – if you are expecting a Micky Rouke fuelled action drama then this might not be the one for you – and you can’t be blamed for anticipating just that, given the marketing for the production. Instead, director Ken Sanzel provides us with a bleak look at people floating through life trying to find some sort of cathartic release, seeking out revenge for a lost family member.
We peer into a pit with two chalk circles opposite each other. As various people, all shapes and sizes pull bullet proof vests on and load their guns, we have some kinds of inkling as to what we are about to see. True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten plays John, who takes to the stage and successfully comes away unscathed. Initially, it seems as if this is only about the money, until we see there are higher forces at play that our lead protagonist is desperately trying to get the attention of. Meanwhile, Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto plays Colt – who is pretty handy with a pistol herself, and it is quickly revealed that she too is on a mission of her own.
The tension builds as we see countless bullets meet countless bullet proof vests. Sadly, this is quickly eliminated by how unnecessarily drawn out some of the scenes are. Fetching and technical camera movements are utilised alongside a pounding score accentuating the blood pumping though these ballsy individuals, as they risk their lives for their next meal.
Blunt Force Trauma has so much potential, yet this slow burner falls into the trap of a clichéd Hollywood love story, intertwined with two people both wanting to give meaning to their futile lives. Despite being a regurgitated romantic subplot, Kwanten and punky Pinto look playfully steamy on screen together. Such scenes are neither sickening nor gratuitous and to a certain extent add a layer of hope to this otherwise downbeat, and at times, sombre narrative we are provided with.
The films main issue is its pacing. We have virtually the whole feature as a run up to the climax and when it gets there its all the more predictable and over in a rather rapid fashion. John’s meet with the elusive head honcho Zorringer spends more time taking to a parrot than providing any actual narrative developments. Perhaps it was budget constraints that limited Mickey Rourke’s screen time to approximately seven minutes…
Carefully outlining the long term effects on the body by putting yourself through such risky activities, Blunt Force Trauma presents a film with much promise, that doesn’t quite get there. A film not without its flaws, but an enjoyable one nonetheless.