Land of Bad

Land of Bad Movie Review

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“Land of Bad” is an action-packed, tension filled movie about a military mission that goes wildly wrong. An elite group of Delta team operators are joined by a wet-behind-the-ears novice. Their mission into hostile territory will be a harrowing experience for the newbie. Even armed with the latest technology, the team has to face misfortune and a lethal enemy force.


Deep in the jungles of the Philippines, there is a rebel group of terrorists. The latest intelligence says that a captured CIA agent is being held there, along with a Russian arms dealer. A mission is planned to have Delta members come and grab the asset, the CIA operative, and then get out. Should be a simple operation…


Sergeant Kinney (played by Liam Hemsworth), code named ‘Playboy’, is assigned to this mission. He will be the JATC (Joint Terminal Attack Controler). That means he will have communications open to Air Force drone pilots for eye-in-the-sky visuals and for backup munitions. He can call in for location advice and then later for an air strike.


Kinney is only on his second live combat mission. The others are regular Delta team operatives. They include Sergeant Bishop (played by Ricky Whittle) and Sergeant Abel (played by Luke Hemsworth). They are led by Master Sergeant Sweet (played by Milo Ventimiglia). Kinney was the only option around to be selected, so there he is with the top guns.


They do a HALO jump into the shore near the target area. The three experienced Delta members joke around with Kinney. They kid around mostly to set him at ease, but also to mess with his head. Kinney is connected to the Air Operations center for drone support. He gets in contact with a gruff, but capable, remote drone operator.


It is Captain Eddie Grimm (played by Russell Crowe) — codenamed on the base as ‘Reaper’ — who will be the ‘man in the chair’. He is assisted by an equally talented Staff Sergeant Nia Branson (played by Chika Ikogwe). Together they will guide Kinney and team to the location and get them home safely. It is a mission that is straight-forward. But it could pear-shaped at any moment.


And then of course, the mission takes a slight detour down FUBAR Lane. The compound in which the CIA asset is supposed to be at is held by Abu Sayyaf rebels. They are a very dangerous group, and totally not minor league terrorists. They are led by a commander named Saeed Hashimi (played by Robert Rabiah). He is a very ruthless killer, ready to take down anyone who comes into his path.


There is a fire fight between the rebel forces and the undermanned Delta team. Kinney is able to call in for an air strike from the drone. ‘Reaper’ is on the case, and he is ready to drop some ordinance down on the rebel fighters. Until the drone malfunctions and the Deltas are on their own. Sergeant Abel is killed. Sergeant Bishop and Master Sergeant Sweet are under fire, and presumed dead or captured.


Kinney is on his own in the jungle, still able to have an open line with Reaper and Staff Sergeant Branson. They are able to guide Kinney in open areas, so he can avoid rebels on horseback or in trucks. They set up a helicopter rescue. But under cover of darkness, that plan goes haywire and they get ambushed by rebels.


A small group of rebels captures Sergeant Kinney and holds him in the jungle in a small hut. He gets beaten down pretty bad, but he is still alive. Master Sergeant Sweet, who was missing for a while, finds his way there to rescue Kinney. Sweet found out that the rebels have captured Bishop and are holding him in some caves near the initial target area.


Sweet and Kinney make a new plan. They are going to go into the compound to find and rescue Sergeant Bishop. Kinney is still able to talk to Reaper. Staff Sergeant Branson finds that the CIA agent was never there at location anyway. The group has a new mission – get in and rescue Bishop and get out. No man left behind.


Kinney and Sweet layout the plan, and they decide that at a set time — the drone will come in to ‘make it rain’. First a small strike, then 15 minutes later, another small strike. After 15 more minutes, the drone will bring down the compound and clear out the caves. Reaper and Branson have the plan all set. It is now up to Kinney and Sweet to make it happen on the ground. Be done and out before all hell breaks loose…


Now that there is a set deadline till doomsday – nothing could go wrong — right? Nothing more than Reaper and Branson are ordered to hand over everything to a different drone control team. Sweet and Kinney get captured and brought down into the caves to be locked up. Commander of the rebels, Saeed Hashimi, is there to get more terrorist beheading videos. Yeah, everything’s under control…


So, can a last-minute effort from the drone team and Kinney change the possible outcome? Can the rebels be taken down, or will a huge air strike kill everybody in the target range? Would a huge air strike be required if Kinney, Sweet and Bishop are able to escape? Will Reaper be able to find the right artesian vegan cheese spread at Whole Foods? It’s a long story…


“Land of Bad” is quite an accomplished movie with a lot going for it. There is sense of tension and dread during most of the run time. The action and fighting sequences are filmed with a lot of kinetic motion, but they never feel disjointed. The story of the Delta operators on the ground and how they interact with drone operators feels really grounded and realistic.


Liam Hemsworth does a brutally good job at showing the physical struggle to work to escape time and time again. Russell Crowe adds a dash of gravitas to his character, but also adds some humor. Milo Ventimiglia also is up to the physical demands of playing the tough-as-nails Master Sergeant.


William Eubank as the director (and the co-writer) shows that he can get a serious movie created with little fluff or side stories. The focus on straight-up action and military combat will appeal to those who want to see tough guys getting things done.  Only the final ten or so minutes does the story go a little fuzzy.


“Land of Bad” makes a solid argument that just about the only bad that can be found is in the title of the movie. And that is Good!

Land of Bad

Directed by: William Eubank
Written by: David Frigerio, William Eubank
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Russell Crowe, Luke Hemsworth, Ricky Whittle, Milo Ventimiglia
Cinematography: Agustin Claramunt
Edited by: Todd E. Miller
Music by: Brandon Roberts
Distributed by: The Avenue
Release date: February 16, 2024
Length: 110 minutes
MPAA rating: R for strong bloody violence and language throughout
Genre: Combat Action


Rating contributor: JMcNaughton tmc

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