Greetings again from the darkness. Filmed in Canada with a mostly Canadian cast by a Canadian director, we are reminded how challenging it is to make a low budget action-thriller. Writer-director Brent Cote delivers a masterclass in genre clichés, yet there’s enough here to keep anyone initially interested around for 90 minutes.
Alan Van Sprang (SAW III) stars as Lance, the rare Neo-Nazi with ties to both the Aryan Brotherhood and Russian mafia who is also the good guy in the story. Lance has recently been released after serving 15 years in prison, and he’s just trying to live out a quiet life by surrounding himself with pictures of beautiful scenery as he dreams of escaping the world he’s known. He clocks in and out at work, and mostly avoids chit-chatting with others, except for his friendly neighbor Anna (Sara Waisglas), who happens to sing at the local lounge where Lance periodically buys a bottle.
Of course, it’s only a matter of time (maybe 10 minutes) before Lance’s old world catches up with his new one. Gregor (John Ralston, READY OR NOT, 2019), his old Russian handler, needs him to kill a few guys that have been infringing on the meth business. So, are you keeping score on clichés? We have an ex-con trying to start over. We have ‘one last job’. We have a girl caught in the middle … there’s always a girl! We have the Aryan Brotherhood versus the Russian mob. Plus, we have the underling trying to earn his stripes. In this case, it’s Gregor’s nephew Malik (Aaron Poole). There’s even an imposing Russian mobster named Vladimir (John Rhys-Davies from two huge franchises – Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones).
The film begins with a Pope Francis quote about evil and violence, but ironically, the film’s best segments involve neither evil nor violence. Despite his past, Lance is a brooding type who listens to blues music, and serves up inspiring words to Anna. The film offers a new and very quick (though surely indescribably painful) method for removing swastika tattoos from one’s chest, although you should know the violent scenes are few in number and brief in runtime. Gregor’s philosophy towards Lance is that “a fighter needs to fight”, but we actually enjoy Lance’s time with Anna more than the gangster bits. Filmmaker Cote may follow the checklist for this genre, however, we do hand it to him for a twist at the end.
watch the trailer: