Noob Reviews: Army of One (2020)
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included helping explain specific points.
What is Army of One?
Not to be mistaken with the Nicholas Cage film of the same name, this Army of One, released in 2020, follows the events that occur after Brenner and Dillion Baker decide to head away from the city and take some time out in rural America for some rest and relaxation.
Unfortunately for the couple, what starts as a pleasant early morning hike through the forest soon sees them running for cover from a storm. What they don’t know, though, is that their one safe haven, a small cabin in the middle of nowhere - belongs to a group of local criminals who do not take kindly to strangers.
After her husband is killed and she is left for dead in an unmarked grave. It is up to Brenner to become an Army of One and bring justice to those that took her husband from her.
What type of genre is the film?
Army of One is a straight-up action film.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- The official trailer linked from FilmIsNow Action Move Trailers’ YouTube channel -
Unfortunately, there was no good quality official YouTube video from the production company, which was a shame.
Who are some of the actors and actresses that we might know?
For a full cast listing, please see the official IMDB page here.
What did you think of Army of One?
Army of One was quite an entertaining watch, but admittedly, it is riddled top to bottom with flaws, unnecessary filler scenes, and backstory, which contributes little to the main story in the grand scheme of things. When watching it, before I dive into specifics, I would just like to mention that Army of One really does give off strong The Marine vibes, a 2006 action thriller film starring John Cena. And had a lot of I Spit on Your Grave type energy to it. If you have not come across it before, I Spit on Your Grave is the first in a series of films of the same name, which was released in 2010 and is classed as both a horror and thriller.
When it comes to the story for Army of One, it is a pretty straightforward tale of love, loss and revenge at its core. Around it is constructed the story of a rural criminal organisation into guns, human trafficking and anything else that will make them money. However, when you start pulling the story apart, nothing is really new here, and the movie deals with some very common themes. One of the things I found pretty odd, though - that is not really a spoiler as it appears in the trailer - is how the husband’s story (Dillion) is really built up at the start of the film, only for him to be the first to be killed - leaving me thinking ‘what was the point.’ His whole introduction and build-up were gone at the tug of a trigger, and it just seemed pointless. On the flip side, Brenner’s story and the introduction to her character are done via flashbacks and, if anything, could have done with more exploration. It’s almost as if the writers had the right idea but then muddled the characters up.
Casting and delivery wise, I thought the cast was a pretty good one, with Brenner (played by Ellen Hollman) really embodying the strong lead character. Matt Passmore as her husband Dillion was quite a likeable character, but his screen time is short-lived. And Mama (played by Geraldine Singer) comes across fantastically as the wizard behind the curtain - who one minute can be nice as pie. And the other become a cold-hearted businesswoman who will kill to keep what is hers. Unfortunately, those three characters are probably the only noteworthy ones. As I said, the cast is good but nothing to write home about. Without sounding cruel, their participation in and delivery of scenes at times reminded me more of an amateur film than a professionally constructed one. There was just an inconsistency in energy and screen presence that continues throughout the movie pretty much from start to finish with the rest of the cast, especially Mama’s sons, as there are just so many of them - many appear, die and never even get named.
When it comes to the special effects used throughout the film, I would have to admit there are not really many moments to shine here with only an odd few explosions and prolonged gunfights. That been said, I would like to give a shout out to whoever organised and choreographed the melee fight sequences during the film as they were very clean and polished. In the end, though, I would have to rate the effects as an average of two or three bananas when taking everything into account.
In the end, Army of One is a fun watch to kill a few hours, and I am even tempted to watch it again. It has some good quality fights, an easy to follow story, and a beautiful scenic filming location while also driving Brenner as the badass retired ranger who embodies the Army of One mentality without becoming overly preachy about feminism or politics like so many action films have done recently. I can hand on heart, recommend this as worth a watch, and if you enjoy B movies, you may really enjoy this.
What rating would you give Army of One?
I would rate Army of One as an above-average 3.2 out of 5 bananas.
Army of One is a fun and interesting watch with an unquestionably strong leading actress who would give Lara Croft a run for her money. Unfortunately, there appears to have been a very low key market campaign announcing its launch. And the film itself is riddled with flaws throughout, which will either really bug the viewer (and has done so to many, earning it quite a few brutal reviews). Or, if you can put them to the back of your mind, surprise you with a bit of diamond amongst the rough.
Thank you very much for checking out the review. If you are interested in Army of One and would like to check it out yourself, to form your own opinion - you can find it on Amazon Prime Video and DVD.