Movie Review - Braven
Momoa stars as Joe Braven, a last name that could not be more on-the-nose. Joe is a logger or what's commonly known as a lumberjack. The film was shot in Newfoundland, which is along the Canadian coast, but this movie is seemingly set in the United States along the Canadian border. Joe works for a logging company deep in the mountains. Right now, it's a snow-covered forest. He's married with a daughter. He's also taking care of his elderly and widowed father who is suffering from dementia.
He and his wife, Stephanie, played by Jill Wagner (Teen Wolf and Blade: The Series), can't watch his father, Linden, played by Stephen Lang (Don't Breathe and Avatar), twenty-four hours of the day. Things get rough when Linden keeps wandering off and getting into trouble with the law. He could be practically on Alzheimer's patient. The question facing Joe is whether or not Joe should put his father in a nursing home or continue caring for his dad himself.
In the film, Joe takes Linden to a secluded cabin deep in the woods near an ocean-side cliff. He goes there with his father to talk and make this nursing home decision. While there, they learn that a fellow lumberjack has hidden a huge stash of drugs in the cabin. The vicious drug lord named Kassen, played by Garret Dillahunt (The Mindy Project and Raising Hope), comes to get the drugs. Kassen brings a bunch of thugs with guns who lay siege on Joe and the cabin. The movie is then about how Joe and his family survive this assault.
First off, the fellow lumberjack named Weston, played by Brendan Fletcher (Freddy vs. Jason and Air Bud), is part of a drug trafficking operation where heroin is hidden in tree trunks. When the logging truck blows out a tire and is stranded on the side of the road, Weston has to hide the drugs. He decides to hide it in Joe's cabin because it's nearby, but there's also a forest in between. Why wouldn't he hide the drugs in the forest by burying it in the ground?
Thirdly, there is a moment when Joe and his family could have escaped on an ATV. The geography isn't totally clear, but he had a cell phone. He could have gotten out of the dead zone and called for help. Instead, the script has it set-up that Joe goes back because again the movie is for the violence and not much else. The movie can only end with all the bad guys dead, so that's what we have to see.
At least, this movie doesn't leave Joe's wife as just a woman at home worrying or as a simple damsel-in-distress. Stephanie becomes as much an action star as Joe or Linden. The movie does make Joe very clever in outsmarting or outmaneuvering the bad guys here, so as a slight adrenaline rush, this movie does somewhat satisfy. What it also satisfies is the requirement that every movie featuring Jason Momoa has to have him be shirtless. Like with his character in Justice League, he's even shirtless while in or near the water.
Rated R for violence and language, including sexual references.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 34 mins.
Available on DVD and VOD.