Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Release Review : The Aggression Scale



The Aggression Scale is a film that caught my eye the minute the trailer for it came out back in February, for the sole reason that the premise sounded pretty damn awesome; bad guys invade the home of a family who they believe has money that belongs to their boss, bad guys get killed off one by one by the youngest member of the family, a pre-teen boy who, as their luck would have it, is the badass love child of MacGyver, John Rambo and Kevin McCallister.  In other words, just because his balls haven't yet dropped, doesn't mean he aint gonna cut yours off!  That totally should've been the tagline of the film ...

So yea.  If that premise sounds cool to you, then I think you're gonna enjoy this one, as I did tonight.

The Aggression Scale is pretty much exactly the movie I expected it to be; a fusion of home invasion and Home Alone that's thoroughly entertaining to just sit back and enjoy.  With a mere 85 minutes of running time, it's a quick in and out fast paced jolt of entertainment, starting with a solid and engaging build up and finishing off with a second half full of intensity and brutal practical effects fueled violence, much of it at the hands of our badass little mute hero.  While he at first appears to be a quiet Autistic boy who relies on his father to take care of him, we soon realize that this little kid named Owen is one evil ass kicking survivalist motherfucker, setting traps that would make both Kevin McCallister and John Kramer proud and turning grown men into his playthings.  Ya kinda can't help but get serious levels of enjoyment out of watching a little kid brutalize and beat up on adults, and watching him outwit and outlast the brutes is where the main joy of the film lies.

If there's any downside to this one it's that some of the acting is a bit shoddy, with a few actors never quite selling their roles or delivering their lines in a believable fashion.  These little acting issues pop up from time to time, and do admittedly hinder the overall impact of the film.  That said, some of the acting is solid, particularly from Ryan Hartwig as young Owen, Return Of The Living Dead 2's Dana Ashbrook as lead bad guy Lloyd and Derek Mears as one of his fellow henchmen.  Mears is the man who played Jason in the Friday The 13th remake and it's always awesome to see him get to act outside of a monster suit and makeup.  He was totally entertaining to watch, funny when he wanted to be and terrifying when he needed to be, and I can only hope that he gets more roles like this in the future.  Love that guy and I'm so glad he was in this movie, because him being in there definitely aided in my enjoyment of it.  Now go stalk him over on Facebook.  He likes to be stalked.  I promise.

But yea.  Couple that questionable acting from a few of the leads with a handful of sore thumb moments of somewhat cringe worthy corniness and The Aggression Scale is by no means a spectacular film, but it nevertheless rises past its shortcomings to be a pretty entertaining adult oriented take on Home Alone, one that is worth spending 85 minutes and a couple bucks on.  Bottom line being that the premise is strong enough to keep the film entertaining throughout and overall worth the watch.  So again I say, if that premise of kids defending their home and exacting bloody revenge on adults sounds cool to you, then I think you're gonna like this one.  I personally had a fun time with it, which is quite frankly all I was looking to get out of it.  It's fast food cinema at its finest; there's nothing of all that much substance in it, but it will fill ya up and make ya shit a lot afterwards.  Or, well, scratch that last part.  That had nothing to do with the movie.  I really need to start eating better.

To round out this quickie review, I must say that now that I've seen this movie, I am even more excited for director Steven C. Miller's Silent Night, Deadly Night remake, which is coming our way this holiday season.  He seems to dig practical effects and has a knack for making fun little movies, so that one should be a blast!

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