Movie Review: Grieving Vet Worthington Copes with the consequences of a “Transfusion”

Sam Worthington plays an Aussie sniper roped into some violently sketchy business in “Transfusion,” a thriller about a father, a son, a comrade-in-arms and a late wife who keeps lecturing her husband, post mortem, about how he’s “failing” their boy. Rugby star turned actor Matt Nable wrote, directed and co-stars in this meandering, stumbling thriller that reaches for pathos in between fights and shootouts, and never seems to get out of its own way. We meet Corporal Ryan Logan (Worthington) and his sergeant Johnny (Nable) as they’re on a small-scale “retrieval” mission in Iraq. Logan’s a sniper who ends up taking a bullet meant for his mate when they finally get close to their quarry. Back home, Ryan’s got a little boy (Gilbert Bradman) he’s trying to teach manly hunting skills, a beautiful wife (Phoebe Tonkin) and another baby on the way. A car accident while he’s on duty wrecks his perfect life. “Eight years later,” he can’t hold a job, his teen son (Edward Carmody) is in and out of trouble, and his old comrade Johnny needs his help on the one type of “job” both of them might still be good at doing. “One night, in and out, zero rounds.”


What follows a fairly bloody robbery — torture included — is more violent, more disorganized and littered with not-that-easy-to-follow “complications.”

And little Billy Logan? He’s up to no good, furthering Dad’s problems.

The child’s journey might have been the most interesting one to follow here, taking him from “Will I be brave like you one day?” to the troubled teen he is today.Flashbacks show us the aftermath of that long-ago car crash, the decisions that were made the fates that were sealed.

Meanwhile, there’s this messier and messier business with Johnny that’s going to require more sniping, neck-snapping and such to get hold of. And Billy can’t stay out of trouble long enough to keep Ryan’s “debt” from growing.

Worthington’s not a bad actor, handling the fight choreography and the sensitive scenes with his usual skill.

But this story is all over the place, and bringing the whole dead-wife-as-conscious thing along because you want to keep someone as stunning as Phoebe Tonkin (she was in “Babylon”) in the picture wasn’t a subtle play.

Nable’s got a decent, brawny and weathered screen presence, and he wrote himself an OK supporting part for this, his feature writing and directing debut. It’s just that he can’t stop himself from cluttering up the works with complications, back stories and unsatisfying “resolutions” to this or that, all pointing to the sloppy sentiment you just know will settle in for the finale.

Rating: R for violence, teen drinking and drug use, profanity

Cast: Sam Worthington, Phoebe Tonkin, Gilbert Bradman, Edward Carmody and Matt Nable

Credits: Scripted and directed by Matt Nable. A Saban Films release.

Running time: 1:46


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.