Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Braven Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
When Joe (Jason Momoa) and his father (Stephen Lang) arrive at their remote hunting cabin, they’re hoping for a quiet weekend. What they find is a stash of heroin, hidden in the cabin by drug traffickers. When the criminals suddenly descend upon the cabin, Joe and his father must make a kill-or-be-killed stand for survival. As the patriarch of the Braven family he will defend his family against skilled attackers that have come to collect a bounty he doesn’t know he has. The film just released on Blu-ray with digital code but can also be seen on DVD or on demand.
Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Joe Braven (Jason Momoa) is a family man who loves his wife and daughter. His father (Stephen Lang) suffered an accident that left him with memory issues. Joe and his dad head up to their cabin to close it up for the season and have a long talk about what to do about his dad’s increasing need for supervision. Of course, pop (as he is lovingly called) doesn’t think he has a problem but he gets confused and tried to escort a young lady home from a bar thinking she was his late wife.  

An employee of Joe’s has hidden heroin in his cabin. The drug traffickers show up wanting their product and they prove that they are willing to kill to get it. Joe is smart enough to give them only half of the drugs, buying time to come up with a plan. Unfortunately, his daughter did not stay home as she was directed and his wife is also in the crosshairs. The head bad guy Kassen (Garret Dillahunt) may think that a dad and a grandpa is no match for a group of well-armed criminals but he will learn that even mom Stephanie Braven (Jill Wagner) should be feared when the family is in danger.

Jason Momoa is well cast at the father. He plays the authentic family man but also brings the muscles and Game of Thrones physique to make him scary. His wife is very capable with a bow and I certainly subscribe to the idea that a mom would go to great lengths to protect her young. The mountain views are beautiful and I wish I had a cabin near the Braven’s (minus the heroin and death). The one part I cannot accept is a moment where the young Braven girl is sent off into the wood to find the road and search for help. Her parents don’t know which direction she went, in the snow. Even with bullets flying around them, any parent would have kept their child close and not sent them running away, hoping to find them later. It’s a small thing that bothered me, probably because I have a young child. Otherwise, I was totally on board with the plausibility of it all.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
Braven on Blu-ray offers a nice 1080p high definition presentation.  The stark white snow does not provide digital noise.  Inside the dark cabin, in the worst lighting, the detail and clarity are very good. The warm hues as fires rage are authentic and the blood that is shed is done so in varying lifelike shades of red.  Skin tones are even and accurate.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track can handle the yelling and the gunfire throughout the film.  You’ll also hear the footsteps in the snow and the branches breaking with appropriate directionality. Dialogue is intelligible and consistent.
Extras (1 out of 5 stars)
  • The Braven’s Views (10:17) – This behind the scenes featurette includes cast interviews and looks at inspiration, story, camaraderie and location.
  • Also from Lionsgate – Previews for Small Town Crime, Blood Money, Acts of Vengeance, Bullet Head and Shot Caller.
  • Bookmarks
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
Braven is a simple story with a very small cast. Jason Momoa is well cast as Braven, the dad who would do anything for his family. I only asked to receive a copy of the film because I like Jason Momoa and he did not disappoint.  It doesn’t keep the viewer on the edge of their seats but does have some unexpected action. I enjoyed the film overall. The Blu-ray is light on special features with three bullets in the menu but only one true extra (I don’t count previews and bookmarks). The film and the Blu-ray are recommended.

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