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February 16, 2023 / VVS Films

Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Russell Crowe, Luke Hemsworth, Milo Ventimiglia

Directed By: William Eubank

When a Delta Force special ops mission goes terribly wrong, Air Force drone pilot Reaper (Russell Crowe) has 48 hours to remedy what has devolved into a wild rescue operation. With no weapons and no communication other than the drone above, the ground mission suddenly becomes a full-scale battle when the enemy discovers the team.

Written By Darren

Rating 3.5 out of 5

Land of Bad is the exact opposite of what the title suggests, delivering an exciting and often heart pounding war film that features a truly enjoyable cast which makes for an entertaining watch.

War films often have similar storylines that make it hard for them to distinguish themselves from each other, forcing them to rely on their cast and action sequences to not only draw the audience in, but to keep them engaged. And that is exactly what Land of Bad does, as it simultaneously does everything you would expect an action film of this tier to do and surprises the audience with how much of a fun watch it is. The story is nothing you haven’t seen before as it follows a team of US Air Force soldiers on a mission in the Philippines that after they are ambushed by hostile forces, find themselves in a fight for their life to get out safely with only the help of a drone pilot back in the United States as their eyes and ears to provide support. It plays out exactly as you expect with little surprises along the way, but it is told in an effective manner that keeps you thoroughly engaged throughout the film.

But, you are not watching an action film like Land of Bad for its story, you are watching it for the action sequences, which the film delivers in spades. Each action sequence features great practical effects to bring to life the chaos and danger that the soldiers find themselves in the middle of with explosions, bullets whipping past them, and deadly enemies set on killing them. The sequences are characterized by a gritty, white-knuckled energy that will get your heart rate elevated as you watch, ensuring that you will be holding your breath to see each member of this team is going to get out of the Philippines alive. They are bloody which ensures that the gravity and stakes of the situation these soldiers find themselves in are visually captured, but never overly gory that would turn viewers off of watching the film, that results in the film delivering exciting set piece after set piece that are the main reason to watch Land of Bad.

The action is the reason to check out this film, but what will have audiences tuning into the film is the lead cast of Liam Hemsworth, Russell Crowe, Milo Ventimiglia and Luke Hemsworth. Liam Hemsworth makes for a solid action lead: he looks the part; he carries himself well in the action sequences while capturing this young soldier fighting for his life. It’s not an incredible performance, but it's a solid one that accomplishes everything this action film needs from its lead star in which Liam Hemsworth brings to life a lead character that you seriously hope will make it out alive. Ventimiglia brings a great masculine presence to the film as the team’s master sergeant, bringing his kindness that has defined so many of his previous roles to this film as a caring leader, but also an incredibly tough and heroic persona that fits the tone of the film perfectly. Watching Liam Hemsworth act alongside his real life brother Luke Hemsworth is fun, that despite Luke Hemsworth’s rather small role in the film, the sibling rivalry brings a fun dynamic to their characters’ interactions.

While he is not on the ground in the midst of the action, Crowe is the one who steals the film as AF Captain Eddie Grimm “Reaper”, the drone pilot in the United States providing aid to the soldiers on the ground in the Philippines. While the action on the ground in the Philippines is gritty and intense, Crowe brings a levity to the film with some great laughter as this older captain trying to keep his men alive. You are guaranteed to be laughing as you watch the film cutting from the action to Crowe’s Reaper either yelling at his fellow colleagues who he believes are not performing their duties with care or shopping for his groceries. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Crowe having this much fun in a film, even if it feels like he is playing a slightly older version of his character in The Nice Guys, but it was nice to see Crowe in a solid film once again.

If you are looking for an entertaining, gripping action packed film that flies by that you can easily sit down and enjoy with friends, look no further than Land of Bad. With a simple yet effective war based thriller narrative, the action explodes across the screen throughout Land of Bad that thanks to a cast of notable stars like Liam Hemsworth, a scene stealing Russell Crowe, and an always dependable Milo Ventimiglia, ensures that the film delivers all the excitement and thrills audiences expect from it.

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