15th Dec2020

‘Army of One’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Ellen Hollman, Matt Passmore, Stephen Dunlevy, Geraldine Singer | Written by David Dittlinger, Ellen Hollman, Mary Ann Barnes, Stephen Durham | Directed by Stephen Durham

No, this is not me revisiting that bonkers Nicolas Cage Flick from a couple of years back… This Army of One features Ellen Hollman, a superstar bad-ass leading lady in waiting!

Sometimes a simple premise, executed very well, can get you most of the way. There is no simpler movie concept than a family member going out for revenge for a murdered loved one. If there is then please do correct me but I feel like these stories have been done to death. It is only every once in a while that something like Taken, Death Wish or Law Abiding Citizen comes along and revitalizes things and then we are back to square one when, for the following years, everything is a carbon copy.

So how does a movie set itself apart from the rest of the onslaught of these genre movies? Simple! Casting, choreography and obviously story is important too. Give me an engaging and different story with a leading role that hits super hard and kicks a ton of ass… Then my friends you have my interest, now it’s up to you to keep my attention. Army of One you’re up, entertain me!

Brenner Baker (Ellen Hollman) and her husband Dillion (Matt Passmore) are out on a camping trip in Backwoods Alabama. On the way to there spot they encounter some real redneck douche bags (this will be relevant in a bit). Brenner and Dillion hold up in a cabin and have some sexy time only to find a short while later they have inadvertently stumbled upon a drug and gun compound for the local baddies lead by Butch. Who turn up just as they are leaving and wouldn’t you know it, it’s the asshats from earlier. Butch and his boys torture the couple and shoot them both in the head leaving them for dead in a ditch. What they didn’t bargain on was that Brenner Baker is a highly trained and highly skilled Army Ranger, not only did she survive but she is a one woman wrecking crew… Their time is up!

A short while back Jennifer Garner seemed to be making somewhat of a comeback with Peppermint but honestly, while I enjoyed the movie, it just seemed to lack bite and conviction. Charlize Theron hit us with Atomic Blonde which I thought was outrageously good but it was mostly style over substance. Army of One, while having a style of its own, also manages to engage you while hitting as hard as possible. And I really think we could be looking at a new action female star in Ellen Hollman.

The way Hollman moves around the screen during fight sequences is very interesting to watch, there is a frantic brutality whilst always being in control which I was drawn into. I’m a fan of seeing women throw hard punches and landing just as hard kicks but for me (and this might sound a bit sinister) I also need to see that they can take a beating that looks real enough. I hate a movie with a female fighter that never looks like she is getting the crap beaten out of her, I mean what is the point in this if I think the woman going into battle is a Mary Sue?. Hollman is super convincing and it felt like there was no holding back while shooting this film.

I  feel like director Stephen Durham has captured something really cool here and, while it does scream “direct to market,” the truth of the matter is that you’re getting a bargain here. The acting is great ,with all of our red neck douche bags being pretty damn redneck-y and Hollman convincingly does portrays an “army of one”. So yeah Durham has nailed this one as far as I’m concerned. Obviously Army of One has its flaws but you would have to be uber-nitpicky to have a go at them.

It’s really obvious, after watching this, to see why Ellen Hollman is gonna be punching and kicking her way through the new Matrix movie.

**** 4/5

Army of One is available on DVD and Digital now from Uncork’d Entertainment.


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