Hey folks, Valkor here. And we're back with another film from… Cuba Gooding Jr? Wait, didn't this guy just make a film like two months ago? Who does he owe money to that he has to keep making these Direct to Video piece of schmidts huh? Anyway, this next round finds him… so he's a down and out undercover cop in this one? Fuck! Anyway, let's take a look at Sacrifice, which not only stars Cuba, but also Christian Slater. Really, are we doin this? Alright!
In Sacrifice, Cuba plays John Hebron, an undercover cop who's down on his luck and heavy into the bottle. It would seem not long ago, he used to be a happy man. That is until his wife and daughter are killed, whilst under the witness protection program. John is so down that he even leaves the house "exactly" as it was when they died, blood splatter and all. But his life changes when a heroin dealer by the name of Mike (Devon Bostick), leaves his sister Angel (Arcadia Kendal) in his care. This new situation brings about a change in John's life; literally he begins to clean up his act (and his home).
Quick pause so we chat very briefly about Mike and why he left his sister with John. You see Mike wants out of the Heroin game and while on a job to bring back heroin that's shaped into statues that looks like the Virgin Mary, he takes one and hides it in a church. And now he and his sister are on the run, because the bad guys found out about the missing statue, they know that Mike took it, and they want it back.
Well Mike never makes it to the end of the film, because the bad guys catch up to him (did I mention they really want that statue back?). Well in order for them to get it back (since Mike is dead), they figure Angel may know so they kidnap her. However she doesn't know the exact location of the statue. Fortunately for John, he's friends with Father Porter (Christian Slater), whom it just so happens is the guy that Mike gave the statue to (as a donation to replace one that was broken). With this new info, John will use the statue as his trump card to get the girl back. And with the help of Father Porter (who's also former military man), they'll face off against the bad guys in a fight to the finish.
Before I jump into the breakdown, allow me to get something off my chest. Cuba, buddy, you've done some great films in the past and a lot of them were fun. And when I say past, I mean before the direct to video stuff happened. Why on earth do you keep playing these down and out roles? In one film you're a down and out cop, in another a down and out military man, and in another you play a rundown reporter. When are you gonna do the fun stuff again? How about you take some comedic roles man? You're depressing me with all these thrillers and dramas. I want "Show me the money!" back!
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's move on to the TOV Breakdown.
Sacrifice isn't a bad film, I'd say it's definitely better than average. Yea Cuba is playing a rundown cop, but of all the rundown roles he's played, I find his John Hebron to be the best of the bunch. I guess you could say he's reached his peak with this one, since he's done this type of role many times before. The plot is pretty straightforward, with no twists, and a decent level of suspense; but nothing that's really edge of your seat. The action is also pretty decent, with a nice gunfight towards the end. Oh and before I forget, let's give an acting nod to Arcadia Kendal, who I thought did a really nice job as Angel. She comes across as innocent, simple and sweet. Not too talkative, yet not too quiet either. Kudos!
I know I said the plot is pretty straightforward, but the film itself is all over the place; you're dealing with John, his past, Mike, and his wanting to get out of the drug gang, Rachel (Athena Karkanis) and her wanting John to move on, so on and so forth. Just too much you need to absorb, when really you shouldn't. Then there's the pacing, which is waaaaay slow. Actual run time of the film is about 97 minutes, though it's less than two hours, it feels longer. Finally I felt short changed by the ending. I guess the filmakers didn't want to drag out the film too long, so they kind of cut the end battle a little short.
Look for Sacrifice to hit store shelves April 26th; it's a gripping thriller, with some solid acting, and decent level of suspense that's worth the ride. I hope to see Cuba in more comedic roles, or at least roles where's he's not playin dudes latched a bottle. But since his next flick is called "The Hit List", I doubt we'll be seeing the fun side any time soon. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give Sacrifice a 3.5, and it's been Valkor tested and TOV Approved.