29 May 2018



'You are Linden Braven. I'm your son.'

I was watching this one when a family member comes into the room, takes one look at the screen and screeches: 'Is that Jason Momoa? Jason Momoa who's Khal Drogo from GAME OF THRONES? Jason Momoa who's Aquaman in JUSTICE LEAGUE and AQUAMAN? That Jason Momoa?' I shrugged. I dunno, I mumbled through a mouthful of crisps, blissfully happy in my ignorance.

Turns out that it is 'that' Jason Momoa, a big Native Hawaiian hunk of manhood with a handsome, good-humoured beardy face and a body that makes my beloved Thor look, well, a bit scrawny, if you must know. He's done a ton of film and television work and yes, he is planning to reprise his role as Aquaman, for those of you who dig superhero movies.

Me, I do not dig. I'd rather snog Donald Trump (with tongues and open mouths and everything) than sit through one of those. But each to their own and all that. Every genre has its own merit and, from what I've seen, Jason Momoa is very good at what he does.

He stars here as the titular Braven. He's Joe Braven, in fact, a good solid manly name for a good solid manly man. He's a giant hunk of masculinity who works hard at his logging company- he lives in one of those 'Murican states that have all the snow and that, or is that just Canada?- and then relishes going home to his annoyingly beautiful perfect wife Stephanie and his just plain annoying daughter Charlotte.

Joe Braven is a big tough man with a heart the size of all-outdoors. He loves his perfect little family- his 'girls'- with all of his being. He would kill to protect them from harm. At least, I assume he would. He mumbles so much that I could only guess what he was saying from his actions. Of course, all big tough guys mumble. That's how you know they're tough. Well, d'uh...!

The tougher the guy, the more difficult it is to understand a word he's saying. That's good ole Joe Braven to a T. About five minutes into the film, I began to wish that there were subtitles available. Or an interpreter, to, well, interpret his gruff bass-note mumbles. I honestly heard little or nothing of his dialogue, lol. Good job it's an action film.

Joe has a father too, a tough, grizzled old bird of a guy who made Joe Braven the sterling man he is today. Big, tough and incomprehensibly mumbly. But poor old Linden Braven is suffering from early-onset dementia and Stephanie Braven, Joe's Missus, is anxious for Joe to talk to the old man about the possibility of something the 'Muricans like to call 'assisted living.'

Well, Stephanie Braven would want that, wouldn't she, old Grandpa Braven conveniently in a home for the demented, leaving her and hubby to have the run of the house, having sex in every room without having to worry about bumping into the Ghost of Christmas Past when you're starkers and trying out the 'reverse cowgirl' on the dining-room table? The hussy.

I remember how Tony Soprano from HBO Mob drama THE SOPRANOS used to bawl: 'It's a retirement community!' every time his old Ma used to bitch about being stuck in an old folks' home. Just because she nearly burned the house down while cooking the dinner. That hardly merits being bundled off straightaway into an old folks' home. Sorry, Tone, I meant to say 'retirement community...!' No need for any concrete overcoats now.

Anyway, Stephanie Braven encourages Joe to talk to his father about the encroaching dementia. She suggests that they use the family cabin-in-the-woods as the venue for this nice quiet chat. Under the pretext of shutting down the cabin for the winter, Joe gets his old man to
accompany him into the woods.

Call it bad luck or bad timing, call it what you will, but a bunch of really nasty local drug-lords (is there any other kind?) have been using Joe's shed as a store-house for their massive stash of drugs. They've also chosen this exact time to come and retrieve their drugs from Joe's shed. They've had God-knows-how-long to come and get it, but no, they're coming now...

And here's Joe just pulling up to the cabin now, with his elderly father beside him and- unbeknownst to either of them- Joe's small daughter Charlotte stowing away in the back of the truck. Joe will have to defend his nearest and dearest from the drug-lords, one of whom he's shocked to discover is an employee of his at the logging company. Is Joe up to the mammoth task? You can bet your trusty little bow and arrow he is...

It's a good thing that the drug-lords prefer to use force rather than talking things through as a method of getting things done. Imagine them trying to get any sense out of the mumbly Joe Braven.

Drug-lord, amiably enough:'Hey, a**hole, give us back our mutha-f**king drugs and we'll let you and your old man and the kid go free.'

Joe Braven: 'Mumble, mumble, mumble. Mumble, mumble, mumble.'

Drug-lord, now enraged: 'Hey, mutha-f**ka, whatchu saying about my mother? Hey, Chico, cut this mutha-f**ka a new a**hole, wudja?'

And so on. Joe Braven is a man of many talents. Speaking clearly and precisely is not one of them. But they say that actions speak louder than words, don't they, and Joe's actions in this film will appeal greatly to fans of the action/superhero genre. All I'm saying is mumble, mumble, mumble, capiche...?

BRAVEN is available on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital now from 101 FILMS.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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