Land of Bad

February 16, 202450/1006 min
Starring
Russell Crowe, Milo Ventimiglia, Liam Hemsworth
Written by
William Eubank and David Frigerio
Directed by
Willam Eubank
Run Time
1h 50min
Release Date
February 16th, 2024
Overall Score
Rating Summary

I have always judged a movie based on how excited I was, while considering a couple of factors. One was who wrote and directed it, and the second being if an actor I loved was in it. One such actor is Russell Crowe, whom I have been a fan of since I saw him in L.A. Confidential way back in 1997, and that fandom has never wavered. Even as he has aged, Crowe still brings it, so needless to say, seeing his name in the cast for Land of Bad, I was already on board. Crowe does what he does best, but will Land of Bad match his talent?

Somewhere in the Philippines, an asset that the CIA wants is being held. That asset is important enough that an Army Delta Force team is sent on the ground to retrieve him. The team includes three seasoned veterans who do these missions regularly, but also on the team is Kinney (Liam Hemsworth), who is a young Air Force TACP officer attached to the drone team. Covering and watching their backs is a drone team led by Reaper (Russell Crowe) and Sergeant Nia Branson (Chika Ikogwe), who appear to be quite the team. Things start off pretty calm, with the mission going exactly as planned, but not everything works out afterward. Once the location is found, another group makes the mission more complicated, but things are about to quickly go from bad to real bad. A firefight ensues, and it looks like most of the team is killed, but Kinney gets away, with Reaper watching him from above. Getting away is proving difficult, and for Kinney, the odds might not be in his favor, and he is going to have to fight to survive.

Written by David Frigerio and William Eubank, the latter also directing, Land of Bad is a tense action thriller that starts off in a good way. For the first thirty minutes, you are in the middle of a mission that eventually goes sideways, but the film can’t keep that energy going and things start unraveling. By the time you get to the third act, you feel like you are watching two different movies that someone awkwardly tried to edit together. The decisions made me scratch my head as it switched from a highly tense situation to Reaper picking up groceries and trying to pronounce a vegan sausage. It is moments like that that I remember the most, and unfortunately not the first act that had the making of a memorable action movie.

I have my issues with Land of Bad, but it also is more clever and somewhat more interesting than some of the bigger action films of the day. What makes Land of Bad worth your time is that strong first act and the combo of Liam Hemsworth and Russell Crowe. In Hemsworth’s case, he really flexes his leading action-man capabilities, while Crowe can always make you chuckle, no matter the state of the dialogue. What also helps is that there is a human element to the story, which in ways keeps things grounded. Ultimately, Land of Bad misses its landing, but there is enough there to keep you engaged until the missions end.

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