Mark Owen’s film Rueful Warrior is an anti-war war movie. The 15-minute short is basically one long firefight that showcases its action scenes while pointing out the futility of it all. This may seem a little odd, as most films with an anti-war message concentrate on the horrors of the conflict. The opening of Saving Private Ryan would be the perfect example of that.
Rueful Warrior, on the other hand, would work as a straight-up action film if the message were removed. Left in, that message gives it an added depth, though it may alienate some action fans.
The plot is extremely simple. Yalalia (Michelle Fahrenheim) is a warrior from a planet that’s dying due to lack of water. She’s found a supply, but Earth’s defense forces decide to throw some shade at her, literally. Captain Shade (Oliver Park) and his team have been dispatched to stop her at all costs. Even as Yalalia tries to complete her mission with a minimum of casualties her opposition forces her to escalate her use of force with tragic results.
Writer/director Owen has a long list of shorts and some TV to his credit and his experience shows. Rueful Warrior tells most of its story visually and keeps the dialogue to a bare minimum. Since this is a mostly action-driven film this works quite well and avoids the kind of momentum-killing breaks too much dialogue can cause.
The action is choreographed and shot well. There’s a good mix of hand to hand combat and weapons ranging from oversized hammers to guns. There’s even an extended underwater sequence. Rueful Warrior is certainly a strong calling card if anyone from the production is looking to get in on an action feature.
The one thing I did find mildly disappointing is the publicity for the film kept pointing up the strong female action scenes. As I said the action scenes are well done, but the hype had me expecting ass-kicking females along the lines that we’re seeing in films like The Raid 2 or Fury. Rueful Warrior can’t quite measure up to those standards.
Currently on the festival circuit. Rueful Warrior will be making its US debut at the Show Low Film Festival in October. You can get details and news of other showings on the film’s website and Facebook Page.