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‘LAND OF BAD’ Film Review: Plays like an Instant Cult Classic Channeling John McTiernan’s Legacy

Land of Bad explodes onto the screen like a blast of pure 80s adrenaline. It’s the perfect mix of Predator‘s jungle scavenging, Die Hard‘s wisecracking hero against impossible odds, and Lone Survivor‘s gritty combat intensity. This film takes everything we loved about the classic action films of the past and blends them into the ultimate modern package. Fans of The Beekeeper, Plane, and other recent retro-tinged thrill rides will have a field day with this one.

I was first wowed by William Eubank‘s talent a decade ago with The Signal, but then somewhat let down by his follow-ups Underwater and Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin. However, his latest adrenaline-fueled thriller, brimming at the seams with action and with a Russell Crowe shooting one-liners right, left and centre has put Eubank back onto my radar as the modern-day equivalent of ’80s action maestro John McTiernan.

Directed by Eubank, from a script he co-wrote with his The Signal cohort David Friguero, the film centers on an Army ODA team sent on a clandestine mission only to end up ambushed. Their only hope lies with an Air Force JTAC (Liam Hemsworth) – who was assigned as the last member of the team at the very last minute – and a drone pilot (Crowe) to guide them through a brutal 48-hour battle for survival.

Hemsworth is in top form as the stoic antihero-of-sorts thrust into peril, but the real scene-stealer is Crowe as the wise-cracking mentor who guides him through it all. Their witty banter over the comms is a constant delight, echoing the iconic back-and-forth between Bruce Willis and Reginald VelJohnson in Die Hard.

It must be said that the film takes a little longer than ’80s actioners typically did to get into the thick of it all but Eubank uses the first half of the film to take his time to establish the characters and ratchet up the suspense, but once the action does shift into high gear, brace yourselves. The set pieces are jaw-droppingly choreographed, complete with stunning shoot-outs and brutal hand-to-hand combat.

Land of Bad plays like an instant cult classic, packing compelling characters, stunning cinematography and pulse-pounding action sequences. With nothing but praise for this film, all that’s left to say is ‘I am Winchester’, and this reviewer hopes that Eubank returns to the genre soon, or even drops a surprise Land of Bad sequel. If he does go the sequel route, though, he should probably stick to the original name – no need to pull a First Blood/Rambo switch, as Playboy or Fruit Loops sound a bit off brand …. Or maybe they don’t?

VERDICT:

Land of Bad streams on Prime Video 26 April via Signature Entertainment.

Where to watch LAND OF BAD
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