Can you have high expectations from a film by a first-time director: Lin Oeding, and a first-time screenwriter: Thomas Pa’a Sibbett? Yes, as soon as you see that the protagonist, Joe Braven, is being played by Jason Momoa.

He seems to be in everything at the moment, whether he’s playing Aquaman, Conan the Barbarian or Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones; Jason Momoa is the modern-day big build action hero reminiscent of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone.

Finally, though Oeding is new to directing, he has spent more than 20 years as a stunt man or stunt coordinator in some of the biggest action films, including The Equalizer (2014), Spiderman: Homecoming (2017) and Straight Outta Compton (2015) to name just a few from the last couple of years. Surely a good omen for an action film.

From the beginning of the film, it is clear where the film is being set. The opening of the film dwells on wide shots of mountains, snow-covered towns, blizzards of snow falling and mountain animals.

Each scene at the beginning is set out in an almost predictable order to introduce the story.

First, the protagonist Joe Braven (Jason Momoa) is introduced checking the logs on the truck. Weston (Brendan Fletcher) is introduced next as Braven’s screw up a buddy who drives the truck. Then Braven’s family is introduced, including his wife, Stephanie (Jill Wagner); daughter, Charlotte (Sasha Rossof); and his dad, Linden (Stephen Lang).


The story continues from there, it seems to follow the simplest story arc possible, there is no suspense at all in the film. As a viewer, you don’t get to enjoy discovering little snippets of information about the characters.

Things are not only just said, but they are also even diagnosed by the doctor. The viewer knows immediately what is wrong with Linden, even after the first scene where he has forgotten why he went to the garage.

It is then needlessly reinforced in the bar scene where he mistakes a young woman for his deceased wife. If you hadn’t worked it out by now, the doctor at the hospital explains to Braven and his family (as if they didn’t know already) what is wrong with Linden.


The dialogue in the film seems amateurish and as if the dialogue wasn’t bad enough so far, the first scene with Kassen (Garret Dillahunt), takes it to another level. His meeting with an associate in a café is so poor, it borders on comical for all the wrong reasons.

Between Kassen’s rebellious smoking, his out of place sarcasm on his phone call and putting his finger to his lips to quiet the waitress, Dillahunt is about as believable as the antagonist as Kermit the Frog. This is where the film falls down, as a viewer there is no real conflict, as you never feel that Kassen could beat Braven.

You can draw similarities between Braven and a number of Sylvester Stallone movies, but in particular Cliffhanger (1993).