ARMY OF ONE ON DVD AND DIGITAL DECEMBER 15, 2020
Reviewed by Thyronne Millaud-Director, Stephen Durham’s, new action thriller, Army of One could be described as Rambo meets Deliverance, but that would be severely underselling this film. Perhaps the freshest and most interesting aspect that elevates this revenge drama far above so many almost cliched like-minded films is this protagonist dispatching the bad guys one by one is a woman.
The engaging script, co-written by Mary Ann Barnes, David Dittlinger, Stephen Durham, and Ellen Hollman, tells the story of a woman who takes vengeance on the back-country drug cartel who killed her husband and left her for dead.
Dillon Baker(Matt Passmore) is a big city cop who is injured in the line of duty. While taking time off to recover he and his wife, Brenner(Ellen Hollman), find themselves hiking and camping in the Southern wilderness. While driving down the highway they are harassed by a man in a pickup truck. Not long after the man pulls off the road into a driveway the couple decides to stop at a roadside cafe before making their way to a campsite. The man from the pickup truck, Butch(Gary Kasper), enters the cafe with a couple of buddies and they begin verbally harassing Brenner while she is alone at the table while Dillon is in the bathroom changing his bandages. Brenner isn’t intimidated by the loudmouth bully and meets him insult for insult until her husband returns to the table. It looks like things are about to escalate until the situation is diffused by the owner of the cafe who everyone in town knows as Momma(Geraldine Singer).
The next day as Dillon and Brenner are hiking in the woods a heavy rainstorm breaks and they find refuge in an empty cabin and start to fool around. When the storm breaks Dillon urges Brenner to leave and reminds her that technically they are trespassing but she is distracted by scratches on the wooden floor that looks like someone has been moving furniture trying to hide something. She moves the dresser, opens the hidden door, and finds a stash of military-type weapons just as she calls Dillon to see what she has found, Butch and a couple of his goons appear and knock Dillon out.
When they come to, they are tied up being interrogated by Butch and his boys asking them who had sent them. Butch is called outside by one of the guys who is tasked with finding their camp and car. He shows him Dillon’s badge and informs him he’s a cop. Butch comes back inside, shoots both of them in the head, and orders the bodies dumped. However, Brenner is not dead as the bullet has only grazed her forehead. As she lies on her dead husband’s body and slowly regains consciousness she has a flashback to her training as an army ranger.
Before long she has willed herself back, gathered her resolve to settle the score, and begins carving a sharp point in a stick. She finds two of the men who are pouring some moonshine from a still. She kills one of them and stabs the other so she can follow him back to the others and blows up the still. She follows the wounded man who meets up with Butch back to their compound where we learn that Momma is running this whole back-woods drug cartel.
An Army of One. From the very first scene, the audience is engaged and carried along on an 86 minute rollercoaster ride of a movie complete with blind turns and hairpin curves. And like a good roller coaster ride, it seems like it’s over just when it gets going. Even though Army of One pretty much follows the standard revenge drama plot points, it’s exciting going through it.
Lead actress, Ellen Hollman, is perfectly cast as Brenner Baker as if she was born to play the role, or maybe it was written for her, as one of the co-writers listed is Ellen Hollman. However she came to play the role, it’s a perfect fit, not only is she believable in both the emotional and dramatic scenes, as well the physical martial arts scenes, but she charismatic, emphatic, and quite easy on the eyes. It appears Hollywood is taking notice her next role is starring with Keanu Reeves in Matrix 4.
Army of One will be available on iTunes, Vudu, Xbox, Google play, Amazon, DirecTV, Dish Network, Fandango Now, iNDEMAND, and DVD December 15 2020 from Uncork’d Entertainment.