23rd Apr2014

‘He Who Dares’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Simon Phillips, Tom Knight, Zara Phythian, Christina Bellavia, Lorraine Stanley | Written by Paul Tanter, James Crow, Simon Phillips | Directed by Paul Tanter


If I was to ask you to think of action movies set in tower blocks you could probably come up with movies like Die Hard, Dredd and The Raid as being some of the most popular.  Working with these type of settings it allows the film to have a certain controlled level of action and even set the fighting at levels of hardness.  This is something that He Who Dares does, but at a low-budget and with a certain degree of British patriotism.

When the Prime Minister’s daughter is kidnapped and held hostage in an underground car park rigged to explode the S.A.S are called in to handle the situation.  Soon finding themselves trapped in the complex with resources low and men dying, the elite team has to not only work out what is behind the attack, but also how to get the hostage out without dying.

Calling the film He Who Dares and bringing in the S.A.S as the good guys straight away reminds me of Who Dares Wins, which is a good move as that is a good movie.  Where Who Dares Wins though is more of a serious movie that feels to use more strict tactics uses by the actual S.A.S He Who Dares quickly degenerates into what feels like an average action movie.  For myself though I’d have it no other way.  Maybe it’s that I understand what they appear to be going for with the movie.

It is obvious that the movie has been written with classic action films in mind, both old and modern.  There are elements of Die Hard in there, Who Dares Wins and The Raid in here, and to take inspiration from these movies is a very good move.  The fight scenes feel well choreographed and are actually exciting and fast paced which is something that we know works.  Don’t expect the fights to be at the level of The Raid, but the use of the surroundings and the feel of the action is definitely something that works.  In fact I wish there was more of it.

Where He Who Dares starts to drag though is the moments where the film depends on the script, especially from the hostages.  There is a harsh tone in the movie that I felt worked, where people are killed with little thought of their suffering and the effect on their families, we don’t need to care about the people who are taking part in the fights, we just need the action.  Taking the focus to the hostages there is an idea that just because this girl is the Prime Minister’s daughter, this somehow puts her in a privileged part of society that does not make her a “normal” person, she even starts to worry because she knows that her father can’t do anything to save her because his power will be taken away from him.  Personally this put me off the character as it’s almost a snobbish attitude.

When it comes to the actual terrorists/villains for the most part they are emotionless and characterless, which I felt was right for the movie.  Simon Phillips as Holt is the man in charge, and it’s interesting that they gave him more of a comedic character.  The fact he is shown as inept in many scenes adds a level of dark humour which luckily doesn’t detract from the action, but does give the group a fatal flaw that the S.A.S can use against them.  I will also say to look out for the “Honey Trap” scenes in the film, definitely a highlight in terms of action.

I won’t say that He Who Dares is the best action film I’ve seen this year, and yes it won’t compete with something like The Raid 2, but when you look at what the film is trying to achieve it does its job and is above average.  Yes, it may be trying to put itself on the level of some films it can’t compete with but as a British action film with a fairly low-budget it entertains in all the right places.  A little too patriotic at times and with a slight feel of being preaches at around the skills of the S.A.S He Who Dares is far from perfect, but it is still a very watchable slice of action.

He Who Dares is available now on Blu-ray and DVD, courtesy of StudioCanal.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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