Not gonna lie. I laughed out loud — more than once — at “Standoff.”
The trash talk in this Mexican (Midwestern) “standoff” thriller is tasty, the hit-man threats even tastier.
“Take a good look,” the hitman (Laurence Fishburne) tells the last survivor of a graveside funeral service he’s just mowed down. “You only get one. I’ve shown you my face. You’re already dead.”
This guy is long in the tooth, years on the job. He’s made his peace with that bloody line of work.
“You don’t look the Devil in the face without takin’ a ride to the bottom floor.”
The trouble is, there was a witness to his latest massacre, a little orphan girl (Ella Ballantine) who treasures her late parents’ 35mm camera. She got photographs of the killer’s face.
Thomas Jane is Carter Green, the lonely drunk whose remote tumbledown prairie house is the sanctuary that “Bird,” the girl, flees to. Carter Green, flashbacks tell us, had a wife and son. Something happened. He’s not easy to threaten, especially when there’s a child involved.
“What you think I’ve got to lose I already lost,” he hisses, pinned upstairs with the girl, a shotgun and a single shell left.
“You ain’t nothin’ but a QUAIL hunter, boy. And I ain’t no small game!”
The two men wound each other on their first meeting. Blood is dripping, and their standoff–killer downstairs, Army vet and kid upstairs, has a sense of urgency about it
“We’ll just see who drops first.”
The wounds require gruesome self-surgery, the armed truce involves negotiation, taunting and eventually, torture. “Standoff” isn’t easy to watch, and the only unpredictable moments feel like cheats.
Writer-director Adam Alleca is better at the keyboard, cooking up chewy tough talk, than behind the camera. The shootout stuff is only passably staged, and the blood-bursts (not his fault…entirely) look digitally added, in some places.
But if Fishburne is fated to join Jane in that netherworld of C-movies, at least they make good company. Each gives as good as he gets, tears off tough talk through gritted teeth and delivers fair value, even in a thriller as forgettable as “Standoff.”
MPAA Rating:R for strong violence and language throughout
Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Thomas Jane, Ella Ballantine
Credits: Written and directed by Adam Alleca. A Saban Films release.
Running time: 1:26