We live in a world of huge special effects budgets, CGI and increasingly implausible action sequences. The good old days of men, muscles and one-on-one combat are a fading memory, even when some of those men keep clinging on to a career as they reach retirement age. Jason Momoa is a throwback in many senses. He first came to prominence in the Conan The Barbarian remake and is set to become huge with the release of Aquaman later this year. Braven, the debut film from stunt maestro Lin Oeding, is a classic tale of a father protecting his family against the bad guys.
Joe Braven (Momoa) is a family man who runs his own logging company. He lives with his wife Stephanie (Jill Wagner), father (Stephen Lang) and their young daughter (Sasha Rossof). Whilst things are going pretty well, he’s becoming increasingly concerned about his father’s dementia. He takes him up to their cabin in the woods for a serious conversation about the future, but when they arrive a bagful of drugs is waiting for them. When a druglord (Garret Dillahunt) arrives to recover his merchandise with a small security attachment, Joe must do everything he can to save his family.
Braven is good honest entertainment where the bad guys are bad and the good guys are good. The set-up is perhaps a little implausible, but considering the genre Oeding is operating in, it feels like a throwback to the 1980s. Momoa makes up for a slight lack of charisma with acting chops a step up from the likes of Arnie and Sly. It’s refreshing to see action sequences that are ‘real’, realistic and well-choreographed, without the need for excessive brutality or gore. Braven is great fun.
Braven is released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital by 101 Films on 30 April.