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Jason Momoa jumped to superstardom as a Dothraki warlord on “Game of Thrones”, since then he’s been on both TV and movies.

He apparently likes roles in the wild: DC’s Aquaman, a Canadian fur trader in the Netflix series “Frontier”, and a desert-dwelling cannibal in last year’s “The Bad Batch.”

It’s no different here with “Braven,” while it’s not perfect, the story is about as basic as they come, it rises above its B-movie trappings thanks to Momoa’s dedicated performance as a family man overwhelmed by a bunch of murderous thugs. His name is Joe Braven.

Director Lin Oeding, in his feature debut, leaves the plot very thin: After a quick intro to Joe and his close relationships with his wife (Jill Wagner- TV’s “Wipe Out”), daughter (Sasha Rossof) and Alzheimer’s-ridden father (Stephen Lang-“Avatar”), we’re shoved into the action. A sketchy employee of Joe’s (Brendan Fletcher) lumber company stashes a duffel bag of drugs at his boss’s cabin in the woods, not counting on Joe and his dad being there when the time comes to pick it up.

It’s a fast-moving scramble for survival from here on and if the film doesn’t present many surprises, (Garret Dillahunt’s drug lord is the typical bad guy; Joe’s resourceful wife and daughter are eventually inadvertently involved; Joe and his dad are both very. . . Braven almost setting up the cabin as a call back to “Home Alone”) it’s intense and rugged, shot beautifully in the wilds of Newfoundland. It also features a pretty clever, if gory, use of a rusty bear trap. For anyone looking for a shot of vengeance adrenaline while waiting for “John Wick 3” to come down the pike, “Braven” will probably fit the bill.

R (for violence and for language throughout including some sexual references)

Streaming on VidAngel


I give it a B+

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