Not even Jason Momoa can charm his way through this one, but he comes damn close.
Braven is an admirable attempt at some contained, old-school action that falls short despite Jason Momoa's best efforts. I wanted to really love Braven as it's the kind of action movie that we as an audience don't really get to see anymore. A small, low-stakes fight for survival that has been cast aside in favor of its big budget counterpart. Even with me rooting for it I could never fully get behind the execution of the film itself.
The first major problem with this movie is that it spends nearly 45-50 minutes setting up characters when Momoa already made me care about Braven within the first 10 or so minutes. While I give the movie immense credit for trying to do character work, it just starts to become a slog while I was anticipating the inevitable action that just wasn't coming. But these things can be forgiven if they are justified by some truly great action that involves character and fresh ideas which Braven really doesn't have. While some the action is cool in concept the way it is executed here has no impact. It just happens and I as a viewer felt nothing because it's not executed well at all. While there may be some interesting ideas present (Momoa wielding a flaming axe should be a home-run) the sound design, cinematography, and choreography end up being super underwhelming.
But there is a very bright spot in this film that comes in the form of its star. Because when I said Momoa gives his best efforts, I mean it. He is just about the most charming you can be while still maintaining believability and some realism in his performance. He also brings a physically imposing presence that the role needs to make it work. One of these days Momoa will get a movie that will show the world that he is the leading man we deserve (here's hoping it's James Wan's Aquaman because I don't want to wait that long).
Even with Momoa's immense talent he just can't salvage this mostly comatose affair from itself, but at least it has some fresh ideas and knows what it is. For that, it deserves some admiration.
Al Pacino Rating: