13th Jul2021

‘Rogue Hostage’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Tyrese Gibson, John Malkovich, Christopher Backus, Luna Lauren Velez, Holly Taylor, Brandi Bravo, Carlos S. Sanchez | Written by Mickey Solis | Directed by Jon Keeyes

Kyle Snowden (Tyrese Gibson) is a single father taking care of his young daughter while struggling to cope with PTSD following his harrowing service in the marines. When a gun-toting gang take over one of his stepfather Sam Nelson’s (John Malkovich) grocery stores, he’s forced to take matters into his own hands, using his well-honed skills to save innocent hostages and topple the militia leader Egan.

How best to describe Rogue Hostage? Well; the title gives a lot away already but how about “a former soldier turned social worker suffering from PTSD gets tangled up in Die Hard in a supermarket…” Yeah that’s a succinct as you can get. If I’m honest there’s not much more to say about the film.

OK, OK, maybe there is a little bit more to say! For a start there’s a ridiculous amount of contrivances that surround the folks in this hostage situation. Let’s see… Sam Nelson married Kyle’s mum and has taken Kyle’s daughter Angel to the store opening with him. Kyle and his Child Protective Services co-worker Clove (Brandi Bravo) take their recent “rescue” Manny, to her cousins new supermarket for food – a supermarket which is being opened by Sam and had been targeted by Egan (Christopher Backus).

Egan is at the supermarket for Sam, looking for vengeance for what he thinks Sam did to his father. Then there’s the store manager, and Clove’s cousin, Sunshine (Luna Lauren Velez) who used to tutor Egan in high school. Sunshine spends the early part of the film trapped in the back office with co-worker and shoplifter Mikki (Holly Taylor) who was one of the foster kids Kyle helped in the past…

Got all that? Good. You don’t need to know absolutely ANY of that as, besides the Egan being tutored by Sunshine, there’s no mention of most of the connections more than once in the film!

Instead we get your typical by-the-numbers Die Hard clone with a villain that’s comes across more like a whiny incel than any sort of real terrorist. After all, this is the kind of nut-job that went to live in the woods than face the usual trials and tribulations of day-today life. “Woe-is-me” wimp! If there’s anyone in this film that’s a villain it’s another store worker Jeb (John D. Hickman) who’s “undercover” in the store for Egan, who ends up beaten up, set on fire, and KEEPS coming back from the dead like he’s Jason f*cking Vorhees!

As to be expected, in the end Kyle overcomes his PTSD and uses his military training to save everyone, including the young Manny, who also manages to overcome his fears and help out Kyle to facedown the bad guys. Yes it’s a cliched ending but first time writer Mickey Solis still manages to get away with it thanks to – honestly – following the blueprint laid out by Die Hard and a myriad of its clones; in a true case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Meanwhile director Jon Keeyes continues to grow, building on his reputation from both Doom Room and The Harrowing, which were both great indie horrors. With this move into action it truly shows Keeyes can turn his hand to any genre with success.

Rogue Hostage is out now in the US from Vertical Entertainment; 101 Films are set to release the film in the UK on July 26th on DVD and Digital.


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