15th Oct2020

‘The 2nd’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Ryan Phillipe, Casper Van Dien, Jack Griffo, Lexi Simonsen, Richard Burgi, Samaire Armstrong | Written by Eric Bromberg, Paul Taegel | Directed by Brian Skiba

Secret-service agent Vic Davis (Ryan Phillippe) is on his way to pick up his estranged son, Shawn (Jack Griffo), from his college campus when he finds himself in the middle of a high-stakes terrorist operation. The daughter of a Supreme Court Justice is the target and this armed faction will stop at nothing to kidnap her. Vic quickly realizes that there’s no one coming to rescue them and must now use his entire set of skills to save her and his son from an incredibly dangerous and lethal situation.

OK, OK. Yes, we’re in Die Hard territory once again for The 2nd… even down to the seasonal setting. However unlike the myriad of Die Hard clones released these days, where our hero takes out a myriad of bad guys like some superhero killing machine, The 2nd returns to the “underdog” roots of the Bruce Willis starrer – with Ryan Phillipe’s character Vic, whilst a highly-decorated Green Beret, still fighting like a real soldier would: struggling against larger enemies, not being stupid and taking out the terrorists one at a time etc. It’s a grounded sense of reality in a film that is otherwise a flight of conspiratorial fantasy.

Speaking of reality, what gives The 2nd an edge over its action competition is just how real the combat looks and feels. Ryan Phillipe may be an actor but he certainly looks the part when it comes to the fight scenes here – which are mainly staged as brutal, hard-hitting fist fights; complete with close arm to arm combat and without (thankfully) an abundance of shaky-cam to hide the stunt work, No, here the stunt work is on full show and The 2nd looks all the better for it.

So The 2nd… an odd title right? Well actually it plays into the core of this films story, a battle over America’s 2nd amendment – this who want to change it for the better and those who want it changed for the worse – for profit, for personal gain, or for the good of the country, Yes, we’re in deep-state political conspiracy thriller territory here. Complete with rogue CIA agents working against the state to maintain the status quo. Your typical crackpot conspiracy stuff. But it works in The 2nd thanks to the casting…

Whilst Casper Van Dien plays smooth and smarmy bad guy quite easily, its Richard Burgi who’s the highlight here. Yet again he plays duplicitous villain in The 2nd, the kind of role he can perform to perfection and he does so in this film. But this isn’t their movie, The 2nd belongs to Ryan Phillipe and Jack Griffo as father snd son Vic and Shawn. The pair have a great chemistry, really making you believe that theirs is a familial connection; giving Vic’s determination to save his son and his friend, the true target of the terrorists, an added depth. And an added air of danger. Griffo also holds his own when it comes to the aforementioned fight sequences too, being just as badass as Phillipe’s character is!

With an ending that hints (well, less hints and more slams the audience in the face) at a sequel, I’d love to see the adventures of Green Beret “everyman” Vic Davis continue further; and hopefully Skiba and co. decide to come back for more.

**** 4/5

The 2nd is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, in the US, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.


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