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Review: Sons of Liberty

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Sons-of-Liberty

Synopsis: A special operations unit races to find and prevent the construction of a devastating micro nuclear device created by a group of radical mercenaries whose political beliefs blur the line between terrorist and revolutionary.

The British are naughty, guys! Or that’s what the nice old Sons of Liberty (that secret group of dissidents who disliked us tea-drinking limey gits) would have you know. Today, although wearing tight-fitting t-shirts and badges that say ‘Special Agent’ instead of pantaloons and nice hats, the Sons of Liberty are still badasses who want to stop naughty people no matter how gruffly they have to shout at each other!

From the film’s title sequence – which contains some nifty pop-up book-like graphics of major events in an alternative history, accompanied by a super metal track that will have you reaching for the dumbbells – to its no holds barred, elongated action climax, Sons of Liberty is a seriously competent espionage-thriller. Before you let your gob be smacked, competency isn’t necessarily a bad descriptor. For example, Let’s Be Cops is a competent (sorta) buddy cop film. It’s not the greatest thing the genre has seen but it does elicit a number of chuckles and sniggers, which is what it’s made to do. And so, just like a fish finger sandwich is a competent meal, Sons of Liberty is a competent espionage actioner (no, really, I totally dig fish finger sandwiches). It’s got chiseled men and hardened women looking angry and spouting solid science fiction and three-letter-spy-agency lingo, with some truly excellent cinematography, direction and editing going on too. On a budget of only $2m Drew Hall and Frame 29 Films have made an action film that looks and feels like it had modest mainstream Hollywood financial backing – a feat itself given that most Hollywood actioners manage to look like tripe.

What makes Sons of Liberty a decent film and not something awesome is its inability to really utilize what its script begins. At the heart of the film is a thought about the perspective of very questionable actions. The film’s antagonist is putting together an explosive plot that some would see as terrorism but others could quite easily see as a good old bit of patriotism, which is a goldmine of character exploration and moralistic dialogue waiting to happen. However, the script moves at a pace as kinetic as its action scenes. So whilst the actors do well with what they’re given and the production team rock the hell out of making a visceral revolution film, the pace and tone often comes off flat which is not unlike that of a videogame. I grew up with an older brother; I’ve had to watch the plots of a thousand third-person videogames play out in front of me as a viewer only and Sons of Liberty, whilst being excellent on the eyes feels quite hollow in terms of substance, even though the groundwork of the plot and characters is clearly laid down for us.

Sons of Liberty passes the time just fine and I genuinely do want to seek out The Phoenix Rises andSkyhook, the two films which precede it (in more of a cinematic universe way, rather than SoL being a direct sequel, it seems). At the time of writing this piece IMDB’s rating for the film is 4.0, which is disingenuous. If you really dig spy-fi actioners seek this out to whet your palate; if not, at least Frame 29 Film’s next movie sounds like a winner for everyone. Nigel & Oscar vs. The Sasquatch, starring Neil Flynn and two SNL alums? 2015 be here now, please.

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