As “Silencer,” a new sniper/contract killer thriller starring Johnny Messner, is the worst movie we’ve seen the always-busy big screen bad guy Danny Trejo (“Machete”) take on in ages, lets see if we can parse why he decided to do it.
Aside from the payday, of course.
He plays a cartel-connected New Mexico mobster who has crossed, with extreme prejudice, the retired killer “The Silencer” (Messner). And he gets one big speech. It goes like this.
“One of us ain’t walkin’ outta here alive, Frank! And since I’m the one with the gun, that might be you!”
He goes on — “Trust is like the silence of the night, Frank. Once you lose it, you can’t ever get it back.”
And then, “If I’d listened to what my Daddy told me, Frank…”
You get the picture. Maybe they were running out of days to film Trejo and just stuck all his big speeches together for one scene. “Silencer” is that sort of B-movie picture.
A slow, sullen, morally bankrupt and logically inept thriller, “Silencer” begins with a Marine sniper, Frank (Messner, remember?) losing it in the Middle East and wiping out a family in an “escort into custody” mission gone wrong.
With choppers and Humvees and realistic Afghan (or Iraqi) sets, this is where “Silencer’s” budget went.
Back home, Frank has his own garage, a beautiful lady friend (Nikki Leigh) and her daughter living with him and a past he won’t talk about, even at AA.
Then a hit and run driver kills the little girl of the friendly neighborhood Las Cruces mobster (Trejo) and he demands that “The Silencer,” who did time in prison prior to serving his country (apparently) get his revenge for him.
That makes no sense. Where’s the “revenge” in shooting a guy at long range?
Frank puts up a tepid argument, relents for no morally justifiable reason, and when he takes his vintage, bright yellow Boss Mustang out of storage for the stalk and shoot (Inconspicuous much?) refuses to take the shot. This HE becomes the object of Ocho and his henchmen’s wrath.
His lady is shot, her little girl is snatched and Frank’s back on the bottle and back in business. His plan?
“Find my kid. Kill Ocho. Have a beer.”
Chuck Liddell is the mouthy muscle in Ocho’s gang, Robert LaSardo is the respectful but murderous fixer for Ocho with the unfortunate name, “Lazarus.” It’s as if he knows what’s coming to him. Or the screenwriter did.
Timothy Woodward Jr. (TV’s “Hickok,” and “American Violence”) gives us mayhem on both sides of the border, blase shootouts and fistfights and knife fights and the obligatory trip to the strip club. His shot selection isn’t the best, and one memorable moment has him showing up a map as we’ve seen the ancient paid-for-and-built-for-the-movie entrance sign to the town where Ocho is hiding out, only to have one of his henchmen give another location.
It’s Woodward’s “No, we didn’t make a mistake. See? They’re close together on this here map.” moment, and not the only eye-roller we’re greeted with here.
Messner and the script turn Frank into a silent, stoic growler, quite unlike his most famous role, on “Jane the Virgin.” The character is uninteresting, giving us too little to latch onto.
The action, after that opening debacle, takes forever to restart and doesn’t show us anything a thousand other C-action pics have given us before.
And Trejo? Don’t ever let them shove all your speeches into the last night, amigo.
MPAA Rating: unrated, lots of violence, profanity, pole dancing etc.
Cast:Johnny Messner, Danny Trejo, Nikki Leigh, Robert LaSardo, Chuck Liddell
Credits: irected by Timothy Woodward Jr. A Cinedigm release.Chuck Liddell
Running time: 1:29