Christian Sesma (writer and director) pairs Luke Goss (Hellboy II – The Golden Army and War Pigs) and RZA (The Man with the Iron Fists) in an action thriller, which sees a Marine go AWOL in search of a normal life but is hunted down by Russian Special Ops, the LAPD and a contract killer. Conrad Miller (Goss) is a Marine gone AWOL and is accused of selling secrets to the KGB as well as being in possession of the asset which contains important government information.
AWOL-72 is your typical cliché ridden action film, now normally this wouldn’t bother me as let’s be honest, they can still be a lot of fun as long as certain aspects of the genre are done well. This is not one of those films. The whole film simply irritated me from beginning to end as it was riddled with wooden performances and tired dialogue. Normally these can be forgiven, as so often in the genre the saving grace is the action sequences but AWOL-72 disappoints spectacularly on this front. Instead of keeping to the simple premise and pack it full of action, Sesma instead manages to make a disjointed film with a distinct lack of action. When some action does eventually burst into life it is at times laughable and really does make me question the skill set of the characters that are supposed to be used to a life of violence.
Detective Adams of the LAPD (RZA) teams up with Special Agent Cushko (Adam Gregor) to track down Miller whilst an Assassin named Myron (Bokeem Woodbine) is also in hot pursuit of our protagonist who apparently is an extremely hard man to find, as no one seems to make much progress. This definitely contradicts what the viewer is presented as Miller may well be the least inconspicuous, idiotic character in an action film we have seen and that is saying something. I’d like to believe in my characters no matter how far fetched but to believe that Miller was an expert Marine gone AWOL is one hell of a stretch. Here is a man who wants to lead a normal life and break away from his past; one would think even if you had people looking for you you’d lie low. Not Miller though, oh no. He beats up a guy in a petrol station and steals his car in front of witnesses and CCTV; he walks into a café covered in blood in broad daylight and nothing is said. These are just a couple of examples of the frustrating sequences that Sesma decides to portray to the viewer.
Unfortunately no performance shone through what was a drab film. The script was exceptionally poor which didn’t leave them much to do, but saying that not one actor seemed to grab the bull by the horns and go for it. Everyone seemed either bored or embarrassed to be there. The characters themselves were just not believable either that or the film is just filled with exceptionally idiotic characters. We have the LAPD and a Russian Special agent (why no one questions this pairing is beyond me) who are spoon fed evidence and yet can’t seem to track this man of mystery down, an assassin, again who seems to struggle with this simple task and an ex marine who gets captured by a motel owner and gets snuck up on and held at gun point not once but three times in as many minutes.
Sesma presents us with a simple enough premise but for reasons I can’t fathom he decides to crowbar a side story concerning Miller, a motel owner/drug, gun and slave trafficker and a crooked cop that has nothing to do with the narrative and just disrupts the film. It had no reason to be there and no message was given as to why it should have been.
The music by Michael John Mollo is the least offensive thing about the film. It is at times just your generic action film soundtrack but what else would you expect? On the hand the cinematography (Germano Saracco) and editing (Peter Devaney Flanegan) was very disjointed and the film was a mash up of different styles, which made for quite unpleasant viewing.
Quite frankly I could go on all day about the flaws in this film. I wasn’t expecting much before watching the film but nothing had prepared me for what I witnessed. Mundane performances, disappointing action and a terrible script. Let’s just say I’m in no rush to watch this again.
0.5 / 5
Dir: Christian Sesma
Scr: Cecil Chambers, Christian Sesma
Starring: Luke Goss, RZA, Bookeem Woodbine
Prd: Cecil Chambers, Malik Barnhardt
DOP: Germano Saracco
Music: Michael John Mollo
Run time: 82 min
AWOL-72 is available on DVD and VOD now.