There’s always a point where Hollywood finds an unexpected hit and someone tries to make lightning strike twice. We saw it with all the lower-budget, lower-quality shark films that were released in the wake of Jaws, though if you can find 1978’s The Shark Hunter, go find it, or any of the space operas post-Star Wars or the ensemble fantasy attempts to find the new Game of Thrones. So with Taken having become such a surprise success, turning Liam Neeson into the latest action star du-jour, and films and TV like Sicario & Narcos popularising tales of crime south of the North American border, you had to wonder, how long was it going to be before we got a tale of kidnapping in Mexico?
Your Move is the writing and directing debut of Bros’ Luke Goss (you might also know him as Blade 2‘s Luke Goss or Hellboy: The Golden Army‘s Luke Goss but let’s stick to assuming it’s Bros for now) who also stars as David, a New York businessman who witnesses the kidnapping of his wife and daughter in Mexico, while he is video-chatting with them. Venturing down to Mexico and confronted with an unreliable police department, he sets out to find them for himself. So far, so Taken but it must be said, the early sections of this film are its strongest work as it decides to circumvent ‘fish out of water’ tropes and actually manages to build some tension out of its scenario, playing well of an assured performance by Goss who also manages to handle direction well, mining a certain scuzzy authenticity out of his low-budget thrills. It also helps that Goss has surrounded himself with a capable cast including some predictably brilliant work by Davi showing off a wealth of hounddog, world-weary charisma as the lead detective.
Sadly as sure a hand as Goss is in most of his roles, his writing is a little lacking in comparison, lending the whole affair a certain thriller-by-numbers vibe later on, with a lot of dour people delivering bad news and not much else. You can’t help but feel that it’s the kind of work seeking a reminder that this is Goss’ debut, hoping for a free pass on the assumption that this is his first attempt and hopefully later attempts will take the baton and further with it but taken out of that context, it’s good enough but it’s hardly thrilling. Equally, while the muddy cinematography adds to the overall atmosphere it does also result in some of the action sequences being made more confused, even when they don’t present much in the way of complicated choreography.
Ultimately, it’s exactly what it needs to be. For a direct-to-DVD thriller, it doesn’t feel like a waste of the 90+minutes it took me to watch it, it passed well enough and even though he doesn’t reinvent any wheels here, Goss displays enough talent here to suggest that he’s more than just an actor/singer. I can’t overwhelmingly recommend Your Move but I can’t say I was disappointed. Not one to seek out but if presented with it, you could do a lot worse. All this, and I managed to get through the review without making a ‘Your Move…Yu-Gi-Oh’ joke. Oh Goddamn…
Dir: Luke Goss
Scr: Luke Goss
Cast: Luke Goss, Robert Davi, Patricia De Leon, Jeanette Samano, David Fernandez Jr., Luis Gatica, Jack Carlisle, Alain Mora.
Prd: Malik Barnhardt, Cecil Chambers, Luke Goss, Shirley Lewis, Cedric Magnin, Anthony Topman
DOP: Jorge Roman
Music: Christopher Bezold
Run time: 96 mins
Your Move is out now on DVD & DHD.