Directed by: Ric Roman Waugh
Distributed by: Open Road Films
Written by Taylor Baker
Ric Roman Waugh’s third teaming with Gerard Butler feels like a seamless entry into the subgenre of action movies you’re pretty sure you’ve already seen. That’s not to say the film is totally without merit as Butler’s recent film “Plane” was, “Kandahar” features directorial choices that are more stylized and subtle than is typical in these brash and loud action features. The film’s choice to reinterpret the classic Western stand-off or to trade a firefight chase sequence that used to be done on horseback for a nighttime car and helicopter chase instead–though absurd–is something bordering on refreshing.
Butler’s surly no-nonsense minimalistic performance style is well served with editing and camerawork that doesn’t linger, he’s a man of action. Even when that action is being silent or brooding it seems to be a choice, rather than a consequence of limited coverage. “Kandahar” focuses on a story that Butler merely serves as an escort and facilitator of, the narrative pathos and emotionality revolve around his interpreter who goes by the nickname Mo.
There’s been much handwringing about globalism in large-budget feature films, but it seems that the real story of globalism in filmmaking is happening with these single-word title action films built on reliable seasoned actors, like Idris Elba’s “Beast,” Liam Neeson’s “Blacklight” and “Memory,” and Butler’s “Plane” and “Kandahar.” These are comparatively much lower budgets than a Marvel or DC film, and bring front and center areas, politics, and citizens from around the globe to the center of their films. Perhaps they’ll lead to new a kitschy style or movement, perhaps they already are.