Hey folks, Valkor here with an exclusive first look at Cuba Goodings Jr latest flick. I’m not always a fan of his work, especially some of his latest works, which are just so-so in my opinion, i.e. Daddy Day Camp, Boat Trip, or Snow Dogs. But then he’ll turn around and do some great films like Jerry Macguire, Boyz in the Hood, Outbreak, or his latest flick “Hero Wanted”. Watch out for some spoilers. And I apologize for the lack of stills. I couldn't get a hold of any for the review, but I will update it when some come in.
Hero Wanted tells the tale of Liam Case, an empty shell of a garbage man who lost the love of his life when he was unable to rescue her in a car accident. Months, years later (I’m not sure, the film doesn’t say how much time has passed since the accident) he rescues a young girl from a flaming car wreck, getting injured in the process and later making him the town’s local hero. He soon falls in love with a bank teller named Kayla (played by Christa Campbell). And one day Liam gets the nerve to talk to her while she’s on duty. But the bank is held up and Kayla gets shot in the process. Liam goes to look in her and in doing so he gets shot, but survives his injuries. Kayla however is in a coma. So Liam decides to go after the guys, killing two of them. However the remaining crooks seek vengeance. Now Liam must confront the gangsters, ultimately dealing with the choices he made that started it all. But things are more than what they seem as the film unravels you find out that Liam is not really the hero he ought to be. How the plot plays out, well if I’d seen this film say ten years ago, I wouldn’t buy into it. However in our present society and the crazy shit people have done, I kinda find the plot acceptable and believable
The story in Hero Wanted plays out like a puzzle, where the past and present are like pieces of a puzzle and the entire picture doesn’t become clear until all the pieces come together. Everything is played out through flashbacks and watching it the first time, is a bit disorienting. The film jumps from the past to the present starting out with the car accident that kills Liam’s wife, jumping to the present where he’s drunk at a bar and getting knocked on his ass by the bartender, jumping again to the past where he’s mellowing on the couch thinking of his wife and unborn child. This series of back and forth is a bit disorienting, because at times you don’t know where you are until the scene plays itself out. However you actually benefit with a second viewing because you get a better feel for the film. Yes I had the opportunity to watch it twice and believe me it really is better with the second viewing. Last film I watched like this was Fight Club, first sit through was great but man it made my head hurt. The second time you kinda get that “oh I get it!” feel. Everything builds up to a climatic shoot out, with a so-so ending. Personally I wanted the film to end right after Liam and Kayla are holding hands and Liam passes out from being shot up, with the final words he narrates at the end of the film “redemption is a funny thing. Sometimes you have to go through hell to get it.” Because you don’t need to know if he lives or dies, you just need to know that in the end, he’s still a Hero.
I give kudos to director Brian Smrz for handling such a
unique approach, I know a film such as this couldn’t have been easy to handle,
but I believe he pulled it off. Also a round of applause as this is Brian’s
first outing as director (According to IMDB) and I think it’s a job well done.
I don’t really embrace
The film is rounded out with a great cast. Ray Liotta makes an appearance as Detective Terry Subcott, but he comes off more like comic relief than a serious cop trying to investigate a murder. His character doesn’t do a lot and really isn’t integral to the story, but he hams it up nicely when he is on screen. Jean Smart, who plays Kayla’s mom Melanie, also does some fine work. I’ll admit I was a big fan of Designing Women and her character Charlene. Looking up her work on IMDB I see she’s had an amazing and extensive acting/voice acting career since. And oh my god, she still looks damn good, although her role is in the film is brief, she gives a damn good performance. Norman Reedus plays Swain, I haven’t seen this guy since Blade 2 and I really enjoyed his work here in HW. But the best of the bunch is Tommy Flannagan who plays Derek. I fucking love this Scottish bastard. The accent really accentuates his role, and he is just bad ass. I mean anytime Tommy is on screen, he shines.
Hero Wanted is not the greatest story ever told, and it certainly won’t win any major awards, but it’s definitely worth the price admission. With a unique approach, some decent acting and a nice chunk of action makes Hero Wanted worth picking up. The film will have a limited theatrical release, leading up to its DVD release on April 29th. Sony is responsible for distributing here in the states, and my advice guys, just go full on theatrical release. It’s worth it. In the end I’m giving Hero Wanted 4 out of 5 stars and it’s been Valkor tested, TOV approved.