Blunt Force Trauma (2015) Poster

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The draw of modern high noon standoff
quincytheodore3 March 2016
Pistol duel in wild west is always enigmatically and brutally interesting, "Blunt Force Trauma" transitions that rugged charm to the modern era with Kevlar and Colt. This is one simple theme used in pretty exciting way, also delivered by adequately dependable leads, yet the pacing isn't as rapid as the flying bullets.

John (Ryan Kwanten) is a participant in underground pistol duel, he rises up in ranks fast in order to challenge the legendary Zorringer (Mickey Rourke). Along the way he meets up with Colt (Freida Pinto), a woman trying to avenge his brother against a man allegedly cheated in the duel. The set-up is good, the unique game-like quality gives an roguish appeal to the character and South American setting.

Ryan Kwanten is a capable lead, he looks psychically impressive and certainly brings the rowdy cowboy persona. Freida Pinto as his counterpart is a good match, they have a nice chemistry and quite believable as two person taking a hazardous trip together. The romance angle works out fine as well, not undermining the serious tone or become too cheesy. The rest of the cast, sadly, are not given too much screen time, including Mickey Rourke, and it makes the scale seems too small.

Dialogues can be rough around the edges, it tries to be poetically engaging but only succeeds half of the time. Some of the lines are too awkwardly put together, not to mention the momentum halts in the midway point. Its gunslinging parts are intriguing, mostly because it's simple and effective in grabbing people's attention. This could've been done more stylish by introducing outlandish characters, but the movie feels a bit restrained to capitalize on its premise.

The act of two persons in duel is primal and basic, a nifty way to engage viewers and the leads cater to such effort, however the pace is unable to reach the full velocity.
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Mesmerizing and visceral
rbeckring22 September 2015
A slice of the lives of two vagabond gunfighters, the stories that brought them together, and their inevitable spiral as each chooses the degree of violence that must rule their existence. The haunting soundtrack (mostly Kid Dakota, veteran of minimalist-core label Chairkickers Union) punctuated a perfect Foley which provides the crunch of beer cans and a rattling rolling lead pipe in place of the jangling cowboy spurs and whistling wind of earlier gunfighter films. When the story slowed, it never felt stilted or awkward, and the ride was totally worth every minute of building tension. Yes, there is a parallel to Fight Club, but Blunt Force Trauma has none of that film's self-consciousness or absurdity and it's hard to believe that there isn't an underground dueling circuit after watching.
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Oh my what a joy this could have been
A_Different_Drummer26 September 2015
The concept was wonderful.

A strange combination of Hard Times and Quick and the Dead, with a touch of Mad Max ... hard to mess up.

But mess up they did.

There are two schools of film criticism. The "auteur" school insists that, before taking pen to paper, you understand everything about the director and writer, to better appreciate what was intended.

The second school does not care what was intended, just what shows up on screen.

Using the yardstick from the second school, I see a film that almost goes out of its way to detract from its own power, to minimize its own kick, to alienate the audience at every opportunity.

The dialog is wretched. The direction so bad as to be perverse and peevish. Ironically Ryan Kwantan and the stunning Freida Pinto are well cast, and in the proper circumstances could have delivered the goods. But like sacrificial pawns in a chess game, their efforts are hampered at every turn.

The sound director in particular should be ashamed. The director chose for unknown reasons to have the characters speak softly all the time, possibly to generate "realism." All this generates is a headache, especially since the soundman allowed every possible noise to block out what the characters were actually saying.

This reviewer almost never looks at a film and wonders aloud how much better it would have been if the Hollywood machine had gotten hold of it...? This one is the exception to the rule.
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What was the point?
Seth_Rogue_One17 May 2016
When it started I was wondering a bit why it was rated so low, because I thought it was watchable at least.

But when the second half started that became painfully obvious.

The movie starts out as sort of a illegal street-fighting movie but with armored vest shooting at each other instead of boxing and kicking each other.

And it builds itself up to make you think that it's gonna get more and more intense as it goes on, so the second half is so anticlimactic it's not even funny.

It turns into some wannabe philosophical wonderings drama movie instead, and it has one of the most abrupt endings I've seen in a long while which literally made me ask 'seriously?' out loud to the TV-screen.

And in the end I have no idea what the movie was trying to say or why it was even made in the first place.

So yeah definitely not recommended, to the Mickey Rourke fans I'd like to point out that he doesn't show up until the last 9 minutes.
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A well done piece, centred around a modern gunfighting 'circuit'. It partly explores how our perceptions of dying reflect how we are actually living.
loeksnokes25 January 2016
Very tight and minimalist plot that builds directly to the climax of the movie. It was well thought out.

There are five or six scenes in the movie centred around gunfighting, which are interesting for various reasons that usually have nothing to do with the 'sport' being depicted, and which I thought were very well done. As pointed out by another reviewer, one never feels any desire to be standing in a circle, so that was also well done. The film does not glorify the violence, or, leave you with the thought, for instance, that Kwantan's character is going to get out of any particular fight unscathed. As often happens in brutal sport films (e.g., Raging Bull, where this is done brilliantly), the violence is often a means for the characters to test, refine, explore, and purify themselves; cutting out all excess. However, in BFT it is presented in such a way that you know there is a basic lethality and lack of control to the sport: it could only appeal, for instance, if one considers spending life in a wheelchair an acceptable outcome of the testing.

Ultimately, the movie is a character piece, and not, in its core, an action film. As such I admit I was not too interested in Freida Pinto's character during the first half, but by the ending she had essentially become the most interesting character, and one trapped in a surprising bind. Ryan Kwantan's character becomes more interesting as one discern's his chief features, but after a while, one hopes for some further development, and this simply does not come, at least, not directly in the shot scenes.

Ultimately, the fixed nature Kwantan's essential character is a central point of the movie, and the consequences of that, indeed, are very well drawn.
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Very poetic
Fennris4 December 2015
For a movie with gun violence as the core activity, this is a very quiet, reflective piece. It is well scripted, well directed and well acted with no filler (no witty banter, ridiculous stunts, little humor, no f/x, etc). They do a good job of -not- glorifying the fights and maintaining suspense; at no point do I want to be in the main character's shoes. Along with Freida Pinto's character, I'm rooting for him to survive and work through his hopefully fleeting passion/obsession, not win the fights. Most of the time the positions he puts himself in just look like pointless death traps that I would rather not see him walk into (contrasted with a Jason Statham or Bond movie where it's fun to see how the protagonist manages to spectacularly untangle bad situations). The final fight is perfect - two accomplished warriors meet with nowhere to go and nothing to do but everything to prove.

Kwanten did an outstanding job - his character was nothing like I've seen him do before but I doubt Eastwood in his prime could have done better. And Rourke was his character; it may not have been a creative leap for him but it served the story well which is all that matters.

The weaknesses of the movie are also it's strengths: it has a very small # of relevant cast members and a very simple (but nearly perfect) story and script. So if it's not exactly your type of movie there's not going to be much in it for you.
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Guns a gorgeous woman.
leereddy24 September 2015
This is not a very good film. Straight to the point, eh? It's about people who stand in a small circle clad in bulletproof vests who then proceed to draw guns and shoot each other in an underground gunfighter/duel type thingy. Bets are placed, money exchanged etc, etc.

It's at one of these bizarre events we met John and Colt, our films leads, who hit it off an embark on a road trip of sorts.

The film tries hard to aspire to some kind of gunslinger noir but with little plot and thinly drawn characters it all feels a bit contrived. On the plus side one of the films leads, Colt is played by the stunningly beautiful Freida Pinto so there's that at least, and it's cinematography is pretty tidy too. There's also a late appearance from Mickey Rourke,a truly gifted actor but his appearance now a days must surely frighten children and his cameo is rather naff. On the whole this picture is attempting to be cool and moody but it just all feels a bit hackneyed and trite.
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Good, when adding "Suspension of Disbelief"
damien021530 October 2015
Overall a decent and entertaining movie, as long as you employ "Suspension of Disbelief," but I'll leave the technical critique for the end. It was good to see Kwaten again (the main character's brother, "Jason," from "True Blood") and for the limited number of lines he was given, he was convincing. The concept of the film itself is interesting, and although the plot wasn't fully developed, it does have inertia. Other stars: Freida Pinto was great, and particularly gorgeous in this, but if you're seeing this movie because of Mickey Rourke's on the billing, don't - he's in about 4 minutes of it.

Technically flawed: The movie's central plot of a dueling circuit essentially relies on all the fresh-off-the-street competitors to be perfect shots, whilst quick drawing and firing rapidly, which would be a difficult task for even a top tier competition marksman under that kind of pressure (but not as absurd as "The Walking Dead" in that regard). On a similar note, many of the "fighters'" gun choices would go through the vests the others use, especially when they lack trauma plates (and why would they NOT use trauma plates???), but again, this can all be filed under "overly critical" and put aside in the viewer's mind. (That's not a spoiler, one example is seen at minute 3 when someone has a Desert Eagle, and it was also glimpsed in the trailer).
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It was alright but lackluster and forgettable.
RoboRabbit8919 February 2018
I have only seen this at least twice, and I find it alright at best.

I will say that I do like the concept about duel gun-fighting done this way, and since this was written and directed by the man who wrote "The Replacement Killers" I figured, why not check it out.

To my surprise, I find it entertaining enough but lackluster and forgettable at the same time, which is a shame because the concept is really cool.

I think the writer/director should have made this film way more fun because it just lacks in so many ways, like, their isn't enough character development, not enough story, too many inconsistency's in the story like why does the duel gun-fighting tournament exist, why dose John or Colt participate in the tournament, why isn't there more action scenes, why is the pace so slow, and why is the main villain only shown the last 9 minutes of the movie before it ends, among others.

Overall It's just alright at best but forgettable,and lacks in more than a few places.

I give it a 3/10. Not great but watchable, if you have nothing better to watch at least watch on a rainy day.
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kosmasp19 December 2015
If you get bruises, it means you felt something. For the longest times in this, it feels like ... nothing. While our main character struggles to explain what can not be explained, we get a second story line with the gorgeous and talented Freida Pinto. The ensuing love story is not the most believable you'll have seen. But it serves its purpose (killing time and establishing another character besides our main man).

Unfortunately not many things work in its favor here. The ending (which seems blurred, but I guess if you look closely enough you might be able to see something and if you still care have an opinion about it) will split the opinion many viewers will have. Rightfully so I think. Watch it if you don't expect much ...
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cmp_gr7 August 2021
If you are looking for action, just forget it. There isn't any. Most of the film is uninteresting chatter. It is very slow paced and terribly boring film.

My recommendation: Skip it.

My vote: 1/10.
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A leisurely walk with an S&M friend
scotmagann-6740213 June 2021
If you are into dark introspection, this film is for you. I found it sufficiently entertaining to watch to the end, but that may have been a random mood swing. The attempts to critique American gun violence fell mostly flat, but the flick's central "game" bears a lot of resemblance to the insanity of urban gang-banging, which might have provided the missing action. The interaction between John and Colt was interesting enough, but not quite compelling. Luckily, each gunfight had a different "start signal," or I might have given up-that was the films lone achievement in creativity.
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"Shaggy Dog Story"
anne-ominous16 October 2015
No spoilers. Just an old reference.

When I was younger, there was a thing called a "shaggy dog story".

This movie has A LOT going for it. It has good character development, for example.

Good basic plot.

Good (although each mostly simple) complications to the plot.

Some elements of the action were never adequately explained.

But in the long run: too many things were not explained in the context. Many things seemed to happen with no rational motivation behind them.

They all did lead to the end... but not in any logical manner.

So, then comes the climax...

"Shaggy dog story".
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This bullet-bruised, Teflon vest-shredding, serial-squinting spectacle might hit the blood-red bull's-eye!
Weirdling_Wolf5 November 2020
Dishy manflesh, Ryan Kwanten, stars alongside the deliciously fiesty, Freida Pinto, and a, er, not quite so aesthetic, Mickey Rourke, playing modern-day outlaw duelists, in director, Ken Sanzel's quirky, boisterously doolally, gun-crazy, refried, post-modern western. The South America-set, 'Blunt Force Trauma' is one zesty, lean n' mean gun show, which at its very best is a giddy, hyper-real mash-up of Ridley Scott's 'Duelists' channeling the Sex Pistols after imbibing one, or ten Mescals too many! This truly is one of the wackiest, blissfully unconventional iterations of a freak-beard actioner I have had the pleasure of viewing recently, and while far from perfect, to be fair, 'Blunt Force Trauma's' absurd premise did occasionally thwart one's ability to suspend disbelief, but when it worked, hot damn it worked!!! and it certainly made for one righteously rollicking, gung-ho, road-burning, sexy, six-shooting rodeo! Especially credible are the gunpowder-gutsy performances of our delectable, gun-crossed lovers, and I definitely got some super-heavy, geek lord-pleasing, Alex Cox vibes from this bullet-batso, Burrito-spicy B-movie, so if you favour a decidedly off-beat, artisan approach to your 'taciturn outlaw dude meets his equally ballistic, gun-toting beau, while bloodily dueling their way to Mickey Rourke's picturesque hillside hideaway for an existential show down' gun-fest, then this bullet-bruised, Teflon vest-shredding, serial-squinting spectacle might just hit the blood-red bull's-eye! And FYI, said trauma is NOT the deleterious effect, acting maestro, Mickey Rourke's fright-wig has upon the audience's sensibilities! Hey! Don't get me wrong, I love the goofy acting genius, and he'll always be the 'Motorcycle Boy' to me, but come on, big guy, lose the sketchy syrup, as yonder, 'Elton John meets Spider Baby fright-mare rug' 'aint a good look for a dude!
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