Thursday, April 10, 2014

He Who Dares Brings Lots of Action 200' Below Ground: A Movie Review

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*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by Studiocanal.

Director: Paul Tanter.

Writers: James Crow, Simon Phillips and Paul Tanter.

Cast: Tom Benedict Knight, Simon Phillips, Christina Bellavia and Ewan Ross.

Director Paul Tanter (Jack Falls) has reteamed with actor Simon Phillips for another action thriller. Their latest is called He Who Dares. This United Kingdom shot film focuses on the action, while the story comes across as a little simplistic. Still, it is hard to go wrong with a hostage situation, set two hundred feet below ground. Much of the action is caught with Tanter's use of quick cuts and edits, which helps amplify the violent tension onscreen. He Who Dares is a solid action film for those looking for some light entertainment.

The film begins with the villain Holt (Phillips). Holt ambushes the daughter of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He hustles Alice (Christina Bellavia) deep below ground, while shooting anyone in sight. He and his army of thugs wait out the Special Air Service, a special group of commandos. Meanwhile, Holt is looking to make some easy money, at the expense of everyone around him. Events get combustive when the SAS and the villains battle over Alice and a few of her friends' safety. Not many characters make it out of this blood-soaked car park, which is set to explode.

He Who Dares is primarily an action thriller. The film's story is focused on action elements and story details are kept to a minimum. There are several scenes of dialogue, but most of these involve the central antagonist, Holt. Holt is at the center of this chaotic and murderous circus. This character likes to torment his men and his hostages. Also, tension is heightened with the use of several dangerous scenarios. These scenarios range from bombings to ambushes and the pacing moves the film from each scene very quickly. There is a lot of excitement created in these short and dangerous scenes.

Paul Tanter uses some compelling directing techniques to capture all of the action. Initially, the film is a little too choppy, but the camera settles down in later scenes. Tanter uses a lot of trailing shots, following characters from behind, as the SAS move ever downward. This shooting style will draw most viewers into the action. As well, Tanter uses a diverse shooting style. There are medium and long shots. The camera is often moving. Many of the scenes are interior shots, with the climax occurring above ground. The production and film quality for He Who Dares is well done.

The film utilizes an interesting premise. Though, the killer's motivations seem a little short-sighted. Big risks are taken for very little reward. Still, the setup is created with solid pacing. Alice is captured and hustled below ground in only a short few minutes. Holt organizes his temporary dwelling with an iron hand and there is a great deal of conflict through Acts II and III. Hostage situations have been done to death in film, but He Who Dares still offers a few original ideas.

He Who Dares has recently been released in the United Kingdom (April 7th, 2014) and fans of action or thrillers would be satisfied with this outing. Tanter and his team continue to improve on their story work and use of pacing. And, this film is often quick in tempo and full of intriguing characters. Still, there are few subplots and back stories, here. So, viewers will have to be satisfied with all the flash and bang, which will be enough for most action fans.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10 (an intriguing premise, good acting, lots of violent scenarios, the villain's motivations are a little underwhelming).

A trailer for the film is available here:

A He Who Dares Trailer on 28DLA

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