So, I heard about it and heard about it, watched the youtube trailer repeatedly and often, and I finally got around to locating a film festival and going to see this bad boy (not an easy feat). I was literally blown away by shades of Mann, though comparison wise I think Kaufman goes easier on the dialogue making it a bit more gritty.
This also isn't the first Kaufman entry I've witnessed, his film, 'The Prodigy' was on Netflix and one insomnia stricken night I felt the need for some low budget schlock. Well, low budget yes, schlock not so much. This is a guy who understands gunplay, as soldier I appreciate it when someone in Hollyweird gets it right. No one flying through the wall from a shotgun blast, no magical 9x19 parabellum that propels folks into outerspace like a rocketship from hell. Really, I don't want to gush too much about just the realistic treatment the weapons and tactics get in the film, yet it really stands out from your average Popcorn action nightmare. I won't spoil too much but the gunfight that occurs about midway through the film between Strong and Phillip's characters and the contractors is brutal, violent, and intentionally unstylized.
The story is simple, the bad guys obviously bad. A PMC (private military company), two cops, soom footage that the contractors are desperate to keep under wraps, with characters far beyond the scope of your typical low dollar film. Johnny Strong was a real treat and I bought him and his portrayal of the character in question and I appreciated his taste in sidearms. Literally the character is a gunfighter set in the modern world when he belongs in the old west with a sixgun and a badge. Kim Coates dies too soon but chews up the little bit of screentime he gets, Costas Mandylor plays the villian with grim aplomb, Tom Berrenger is the seasoned father figure, Kevin Phillips portrays the likable young partner but he does it without suffering from some genre cliches that irk me. Matter of fact the usual "I hate you, you are mine enemy" young new partner assigned to work with a grizzled older partner crapola doesn't even happen and it's refreshing to see.
Hopefully Kaufman keeps up the good work and makes some more films of this caliber. Johnny Strong? Well, I wouldn't yell if the duder was in a few more flicks, he hit all the right notes, pathos, aggression, a man literally born into the wrong era that just goes out and gets the job done. Can't wait to see the package from Amazon that I know will contain this film.