24 Hours to Live
Starring Ethan Hawke, Qing Xu, Paul Anderson, Rutger Hauer, Liam Cunningham,
Remember that 2008 film Hero Wanted with Cuba Gooding Jr? Yea, me either, but that hasn’t stopped stuntman and occasional director Brian Smrz from delivering yet another forgettable action flick. Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke (Maudie, Boyhood) is the only element here that even provides this cheap action flick with a chance at a theatrical audience, although this is very likely to land on VOD exclusively. Hawke takes a break from his prolific resurgence as an actor to lend his name to a film that otherwise wouldn’t be playing at The Austin Film Festival, or anywhere else for that matter.
“On hiatus,” contract hit-man Travis Conrad (Hawke) says to his longtime friend Jim Morrow (Anderson). Weapons manufacture Red Mountain has a specific job for Conrad, “it comes with a mop unfortunately,” Morrow admits. A whistleblower threatens to expose the company for mass murder and human experimentation, and they need someone to take him out before testifying. Having recently lost his wife and son, Conrad doesn’t have much to love for, but can’t turn down the million-dollar payday. What Conrad wasn’t prepared for is Special Agent Lin (Xu), protecting the informant with all means necessary, and with much more to live for. Conrad is killed by Lin after extracting location intel, and that’s where this story begins.
For viewers needing more than just explosions and fight scenes, 24 Hours to Live leaves much to be desired.
“We’ve been developing this new technology,” Wetzler (Cunningham), head of Cape Town’s Red Mountain division explains to Conrad (and the audience), and why a dead man is suddenly now alive again. It’s always some rushed explanation in action movies to explain those types of things. What makes zero sense is why they bring him back, just to get information out of him, then I remember, this is just an action movie interested in violence and not storytelling, and it all makes sense. Chock full of chase sequences and shootouts, where blood splatters and squirts like a Tarantino film, 24 Hours to Live is just garbage filmmaking and dialogue.
For viewers needing more than just explosions and fight scenes, 24 Hours to Live leaves much to be desired. Little to know character development from any of the characters. Smrz and his editor also don’t know how to transition or deliver an effective flashback, which plagues much of this action films drive. There are so many plot holes here; “why doesn’t he just kill so and so,” or “why would they just stand there and talk when they could kill him and be done with it,”. 24 Hours to Live doesn’t want the audience to ask questions, but it stops too often to take a break between sequences, inviting criticism.
Hawke lends his name, but not his talent to this garbage bin action flick.