Brian Smrz, what a name for an action movie director, eh? The man is a seasoned movie stunts veteran, coordinator, second unit director and whatnot. Many stunts pros have turned to directing action movies, with good results (at least visually).
This is actually mr Smrz's second directing job after, er, 2008's "Hero Wanted" starring Cuba Gooding Jr.
I gotta say, "24 Hours..." starts stronger and has more to offer than the reviews or trailers may suggest.
It's an uncommonly varied, multifarious action movie that has it all - adrenaline, good acting, trashy but otherwise solid story. If they only were able to hold the quality til the end...
I don't see much point describing the quality of action scenes with words, but I assure that "24 Hours..." doesn't disappoint. Great hand to hand fighting, shooting and driving.
Bullets and punches have visceral force that is almost felt by watching it. And the ghetto battle may be one of my favorite action setpieces of 2017, or maybe even recent times.
The central hero is assassin (Ethan Hawke) seeking redemption after being given a second chance at life. But - surprise - every major character actually feels like a person, despite there being little room for character development.
You get to know the people, and get reasons to root for them, not only for the main man. This is one of those rare action movies that make you feel that the world the characters move in is not just a series of locations where somebody kicks ass or whatnot.
There are pasts, relationships, circumstances that are maybe only hinted at - there is only so much you can show with 93 minutes - but they are there, and make you feel like you belong somewhere, not just passively swallow entertainment
There's also some twists and turns that help give the characters a bit more dramatic weight. Situations change, and people and their relationships change with it. In this sense, "24 Hours..." is a good example of how to introduce little surprises without overdoing it. 99% of the action or horror movies could learn from that.
Also appearing: Paul Anderson, Qing Xu, Rutger Hauer, Liam Cunningham, Tyrone Keogh, Hakeem Kae-Kazim et al.
For an actioneer, it relies surprisingly much on performances. Starting with Ethan Hawke who really puts his heart into the assassin character ripped apart by regrets, hesitations, and emotional flatlining.
This diverse actor of a man has done a lot of action movies by now, and he always finds little ways to add to his character, making them more interesting than usual expected from the genre.
There's something poetic and moving about professional hitmen carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, and this is one way "24 Hours..." gets under the skin. Well, until the heavy-handed last third of the story kicks in, which takes itself too seriously and almost sinks the movie as a result. But I'm in a good mood and wish to concentrate on the positive, so let's leave it at that.
I find it sad that many big empty action movies (i.e most superhero movies) get so much attention, but more indie-minded smaller projects like "24 Hours to Live" - or recent "Renegades" - often get none.
Critics actually don't like "24 Hours", calling it just silly and poor man's "Crank". But what do the critics know, eh? Yes, the final third is noticeably weaker than the rest, but there's still an uncommonly rich action movie experience waiting.