All the Devil's Men is writer/director Matthew Hope's newest action film. In his first leading role, Milo Gibson plays Jack Collins, a war-on-terror bounty hunter who is stuck doing one last mission in London to seek out rogue CIA operative Terry McKnight (played by Elliot Cowan). Collins, used to working alone, must learn to work with a team of two other bounty hunters, seasoned pro Mike Brennan (William Fichtner) and a cocky Pete Samuelson (Gbenga Akinnagbe) to stop McKnight from obtaining a nuclear warhead.
Simply wanting to end his career and go home to his new daughter, Jack Collins is thrown into a new mission: to stop rogue CIA operative Terry McKnight from getting ahold of a nuclear warhead. The terrorist bounty hunter team of Collins, Mike Brennan, and Pete Samuelson meet up with Tony Deighton, an operative Collins has worked with before who is said to be helping McKnight. Deighton leads them into an ambush, which sets the stage for a movie full of cat and mouse chases as the team seeks out Deighton and McKnight.
The movie delivers almost non-stop action with a refreshing dose of reality not normally seen. Every fight scene is different in this movie, leaving no room for boring predictability that often sets in during action movies. No single sequence felt the same as the others and they were all masterfully done. In an age of CGI, quick and confusing camera angles, too many explosions, and unrealistic victories, it was nice to see Matthew Hope slow things down a bit, make every move count, and still deliver action that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The real highlight of the film is Milo Gibson, the son of Mel Gibson. Certain times throughout the movie, I kept noticing the resemblance to Mel Gibson, whether it was a facial expression, the way he moved, or his overall appearance. His breakout role was masterfully done. The character he played was a well-built lone warrior who was being forced to learn how to work with a team. If Martin Riggs and Wolverine had a love child, it would be Jack Collins. Gibson portrayed the character perfectly and his performance was so outstanding that I would recommend seeing the movie to watch him work, if for no other reason.
I was torn between giving the movie 3.5 stars or 4 stars. The movie was quite enjoyable, the action was refreshing, and the story was not complicated, but it didn't have to be for this type of movie. I had two reasons for not giving it the full four stars, and they may seem petty to some readers, but hey...it's my review.
The first involved the back story of Collins. There were several times it was mentioned that he had a baby he has yet to see because of his job and that he wants to just finish this job and go home. While that is a great character builder to play with and develop, the movie simply did not develop that side at all. It was brought up early on their way to London by Mike Brennan, but any other time it is mentioned, you're left thinking, Oh yeah. I forgot about that, and wondering when it will play an important part in the movie. I'm not sure why they added it in; it did nothing for the plot. As a viewer, it seemed to be put in there just to add a layer to his character that we did not have time to connect to in the film. In a movie that was so exact to not waste time or scenes that didn't move the plot forward, the side note came up as a distraction to me. With things like this, I want to see it either fully developed or simply left out.
The second is the portrayal of Pete Samuelson. The way he was portrayed in the beginning of the movie portrayed him as the token black guy. After a minute and fifteen seconds of being in the plane to London, talking about the mission and greeting each other, Samuelson finally speaks up, leaving everyone else to finally notice his presence (we did not even see him in any camera shots until after he started talking). He was sitting there the entire time, on a four-seat jet, taking up one of the seats, and we did not notice him there until he says his first satirical line, Yo! Are you people deaf? The pilot said sit down and strap in already. I'm trying to scalp this mother fucker by tonight. He describes himself as the best and refuses to be called a bounty hunter, instead calling himself a Shadow Warrior. As the movie goes on, this side of him seems to fade away, but it was one thing that made me roll my eyes early in the film as I was expecting the only black guy on the team to be a Hollywood stereotype.
Despite those two minor points, All the Devil's Men is a movie that is sure to leave the die-hard action fan satisfied: a clear plot that moves forward in every scene, action sequences that are easy to watch and believable, an overall fun time with some explosions (but not too many to wear you down to the point of boredom), and an excellent performance from Gibson. The movie is an action movie, and that is exactly what it delivers.