20th Sep2015

‘Blunt Force Trauma’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Mickey Rourke, Ryan Kwanten, Freida Pinto, Maruia Shelton, Carolina Gómez, Jon Mack, Ruben Zamora, Steven Galarce, David Villada, Jason Gibson, Tatiana Ronderos, Daniel Abril | Written and Directed by Ken Sanzel

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Blunt Force Trauma follows the journey of John (Kwanten) and Colt (Pinto), gunfighters and sometimes lovers, on parallel but very different journeys through an underground dueling culture. From cockfighting rings and train yards, to basements and barns across South America, modern-day warriors put on bulletproof vests and duel one another in underground gunfights to gain riches and respect. It’s known only as the Game, and Zorringer (Rourke) is its elusive champion. John is looking for the ultimate duel with Zorringer while Colt is seeking revenge for the death of her brother. The two gunslingers travel from one shootout to another on a dangerous journey of love, violence, and clandestine battles.

Where to start with Blunt Force Trauma. How about the plot – which, at its core, is nothing more than a new version of Van Damme’s Bloodsport, only this time with bullet-proof vests and guns instead of brutal kickboxing action. In fact the “sport” these characters partake in, is little more than a human version of cockfighting… Two people in a ring with no option but to fight to till there’s only one man, or woman, standing. Although in this case there’s also a revenge side-plot and an unnecessary love story thrown in to boot.

It’s obvious that the likes of Nicolas Winding-Refn has had a huge influence on Blunt Force Trauma. The mix of drama, action and charactisation echoes the films of Refn – in particular those featuring Ryan Gosling. But Ryan Kwanten is no Gosling and despite all his attempts at playing a hardened, yet smouldering, hero, his character seems little more than a parody of Refn’s characters.

Sadly for hardcore action-movie fans (like me), who typically would love a Bloodsport-esque gunfighting movie, there’s too much time spent on character development and the sloppy love-story side plot; and not enough of the fighting, especially to make the film exciting enough. For those looking for an epic hero tale will also be disappointed. There’s not enough grandeur to Blunt Force Trauma, there’s no tension-filled “heroes journey” that will have the audience on the edge of their seat in anticipation.

Hard to believe this comes from Ken Sanzel, the same writer behind the fantastic Chow Yun Fat movie The Replacement Killers… It’s all very much a damp squib. Although I’m sure those Kwanten fans that have enjoyed his role on True Blood (ladies I’m looking at you) will find plenty to enjoy about him in this film!

Blunt Force Trauma is released on DVD and Digital on October 5th, courtesy of 101 Films.

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