26th Jun2020

‘Nightfire’ Short Film Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Dylan Baker, Becky Ann Baker, Bradley Stryker, Francesco Pannofino, Michael Pantozzi, Lorenzo Pisoni, Goran Ivanovski, Greg Hadley | Written by Brando Benetton, Los Silva | Directed by Brando Benetton

Forty one minutes seems like a very odd running time for any movie. Not really a short film but nowhere near the length of a full feature but that is how long Nightfire is… In the movie we see two American agents retrieve military chips containing top-secret content. But an unexpected political prisoner is picked in the process and turns things a little complicated.

In its short run time the film-makers try to throw in as many twist and turns as possible it seems. But to be fair to them,they do all work. They don’t feel like they have been thrown in there just to shock or just to take the story in another random direction. They all seemed pretty logical, right down to the final scene. If you are a veteran action movie viewer you will probably see most of them coming but that’s not really a problem. As an old school action thriller (almost nineties-like at times) it’s much more about the on screen action than it is a thought provoking story.

Nightfire does look good though. If you saw a movie of similar style stretched to ninety minutes then you’d think it had a decent budget. There’s no holding back with the exciting actions scenes.

But here’s where my main problem lies with Nightfire. These action scenes, and the film as a whole, are just a bit ‘clean’, for want of a better term. With all the explosions, the fire, the car and motorbike crashes and the gun fights, everything feels very ‘safe’. Too much like a movie, and because of this theirs a lack of any gritty realism. So I found it hard to get engrossed in what was going on, no tension and I never really felt like anyone was ever in trouble. It’s a shame because it is clear that a lot of thought and effort has gone into these action scenes,maybe too much thought.

The actors put in decent performances but everybody feels kind of interchangeable. Character or acting-wise no-one sticks and everyone is a little bit bland, even for an action movie. It desperately needed one of the two agents to have some charisma and things would have been a little more entertaining. Or failing that, the bad guy needed to be a little bit more evil or over-the-top. I understood the direction they went with him, and that was fine but not very exciting.

With the popularity of the John Wick franchise, as well as any Liam Neeson movie of the last ten years, you need to do something special to stand out from the action pack. Unfortunately Nightfire tries but fails. Still, action fans will get some enjoyment here and with its short run time it never out stays its welcome but it leaves you wanting much, much more.


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