Review by James Lindorf
Silencer is the latest film from director Timothy Woodward Jr. (Gangster Land, WEAPONiZED) based on a screenplay by newcomer Sean Mick. The action thriller stars Johnny Messner (Weaponized), Danny Trejo (Machete), Tito Ortiz (Former UFC Champion, Boo 2! A Madea Halloween) and Chuck Liddell (Former UFC Champion & Hall of Famer, War Pigs). The film follows a former soldier and retired hitman (Messner) who must rely on his old skills to wage war against his former employer when he refuses to do one last job.
The Silencer is an appropriate name for Messner’s character Frank. He is a man of few words, but it’s whoever ends up on the business side of his scope that gets silenced permanently. Frank is a damaged man, trying to make right after a decade or more of darkness. And to save the people most important to him, he must battle the demons from his past, and the demon in the bottle.
The highlights of the film are in the performances. Messner made me care about Frank and want to learn more about his struggles. He was good, but he was bested by Danny Trejo. Trejo gave the best performance I have ever seen from him as the doting grandfather and head of the Mexican cartel. Woodward even got serviceable performances from Ortiz and Liddell, who did better than a lot of athletes do early in their acting careers.
The biggest problem with this film is its pacing. There are several action scenes, but they are all relatively brief, leaving you wanting more. With MMA legends like Ortiz and Liddell I was expecting a big brawling scene that unfortunately never materialized. The other most noticeable shortcoming was the CGI. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t top tier, rearing its head during the action scenes in the form of exaggerated muzzle flashes and fake blood.
I had a good time watching this movie. Yes, it is a poor man’s John Wick, but Woodward and Mink delivered an entertaining action movie with enough heart to leave me interested in a sequel. I would love to see the sequel go one of two ways: first, as a prequel, to get more Dany Trejo and finally see Frank do the hits that made him a legend in the cartel. Second, a more dramatic piece focusing on the struggle of soldiers returning home and how they reintegrate themselves into society. It was a subject Mink hinted at but didn’t dive too deeply into, and I think this team could pull that off in a satisfying way. You can see if you’ll be excited for a sequel when Cinedigm releases Silencer On Demand and through VOD September 4th.