Don’t mess with the mom. Or pretty much any mom for that matter. You gotta know that a mother (of pretty much any species) will defend to the death her offspring. Gabrielle Union stars as the mom and she does a fine job convincing us that she could do the things her character does. She is an actress I have often wondered why is not hired more or more popular as when she is on screen your attention is firmly focused on her. Even if the material is not the greatest. Such is the case here.
While this is not an awful movie there is nothing really remarkable about it. The story is interesting enough. The action is okay. However, there is nothing that elevates it to truly enjoyable. The execution of the idea is where it really stumbles. Director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Survivor) bobbles the ball here. As does the screenwriter, Ryan Engle (The Commuter, Non-Stop). First of all the dialogue is rather stilted. People do not actually speak like that. Ever. No matter if their kids are being held hostage. Second, the bad guys are really not threatening. Even the supposedly crazy guy. All so dumb they are kinda like zombies. Tension is not amped up to the max as a result. Plus their moves are so predictable anyone would see them coming from a mile away. In a film like this the hero can only be as heroic as the bad guy is bad. Not much to live up to for Union. Finally, the tension is never really dialed up (see previous points). It is there, but never really escalates, which is essential in a thriller.
Taking her son Glover (Seth Carr – Black Panther, Terminator Genisys) and teenage daughter Jasmine (Ajiona Alexus – from television’s 13 Reasons Why) to her recently deceased father’s house for the weekend is not what Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union – Bring It On, 10 Things I Hate About You) would call a good time. Neither she nor her kids are looking forward to spending time cleaning out a house in a rather secluded area what they want to be doing. Things get even worse when a gang of ex-cons break in looking for a hidden safe.
The gang, led by Eddie (Billy Burke – from television’s Major Crimes), nabs the two kids while Shaun is out in the garage. She manages to escape their clutches, but is not going to rest until she gets her kids back. The gang underestimates this mom and her desire to get her kids out of harm’s way.
-Alternate Opening – The Gas Station
-One Bad Mother…
-A Filmmaker’s Eye: James McTeigue
-A Lesson in Kicking Ass
-A Hero Evolved
-Feature Commentary with Director James McTeigue and Scriptwriter Ryan Engle