Blunt Force Trauma (2015)    0 Stars

“In the world of underground duelling, the only rule is to survive”

Blunt Force Trauma (2015)
Blunt Force Trauma (2015)


Director: Ken Sanzel

Cast: Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto, Ryan Kwanten

Synopsis: Follows the journey of John and Colt, gunfighters and sometimes lovers, on parallel but very different journeys through an underground dueling culture.






Director Ken Sanzel, the writer of Antoine Fuqua’s The Replacement Killers, hits on a novel and intriguing concept with his tale of roving modern-day gunslingers risking their lives in an underground duelling circuit, but then blows it by shackling the idea to a metaphysical storyline in which the meaningful silences of its characters far outnumber the gunfights. Ryan Kwanten (Kidnapping Freddie Heineken) is the hotshot young gunslinger who hooks up with foxy female counterpart, Colt (Freida Pinto) as he seeks a showdown with Zorringer (Mickey Rourke – Johnny Handsome, Get Carter) the legendary founder of the circuit who’s still number one with a gun. Colt is in search of the man who killed her brother, but her story goes nowhere when the man turns up dead, and her status is reduced to that of the sexy support who looks good tying a holster to her leg.

The quest is almost a spiritual one, and Blunt Force Trauma has something of a 1970s lovers-on-the-run feel. It would be easy to imagine Peckinpah, in the days before booze got the better of him, making something of it. But Sanzel is no Peckinpah, and his meditative style becomes overwhelmingly frustrating as we wait impatiently for the next tense, well-staged gunfight and the final, inevitable showdown. With these underground gunfights, Sanzel really has created a unique and believable spectacle which it’s almost impossible to believe isn’t based on fact; he really has come up with a great idea for a movie – but has then made a poor movie out of his great idea. Kwanten and Pinto make a good looking couple, but a hilltop shootout in which they deliberately wing one another is a pretentious diversion that never rings true, and Colt’s relegation to sidelined heroine is complete when her former toughness evaporates the closer her lover comes to his date with big-toothed, dodgy-haired destiny in the form of Rourke’s philosophical sharpshooter. Don’t expect too much if you’re a fan of Rourke’s either: he might share top billing, but his brief, belated appearance amounts to nothing more than a grotesque cameo.

(Reviewed 10th October 2015)

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