Dylan Forrester (Scott Eastwood, Pacific Rim: Uprising. Texas Chainsaw) is a dangerous man. He’s an ex-special forces officer turned gun for hire, and most recently convicted killer out on parole. His psychiatrist Dr. Alderwood (Mel Gibson, Boss Level, Mad Max) keeps him in check with an endless stream of pills. He isn’t really a bad person, he just has no concept of emotions or conscience. In other words, he’s a sociopath.
Then within minutes of each other, he gets a message that his younger brother is dead and a SWAT team comes looking for him. Looking for answers he heads to Guardian Island where his brother was living with FBI Agent Shaunessy (Famke Janssen, Deep Rising, Primal) who originally sent him to prison on his trail.
Dangerous starts out as a pretty standard thriller. Director David Hackl (Saw V, Daughter of the Wolf) and writer Christopher Borrelli (The Marine 2, Witches in the Woods) lay the basics out quickly and efficiently enough so that Dylan and the viewer are soon on Guardian Island trying to find out what happened.
There are a few amusing moments along the way, such as Dylan checking his notes to see how to act in social situations. That’s further compounded by the first person he meets, his own mother Linda, played by Brenda Bazinet whose career stretches back to the 80s cult film Siege, being anything but social to him. Or his trying to convince everyone he’s a changed man right before the local Sheriff (Tyrese Gibson, Rogue Hostage, Morbius) comes to take him away.
Unfortunately Dangerous quickly turns into a very by the numbers action film. It seems Sean was looking for something on the island, something that Dylan’s old boss Cole (Kevin Durand, Dark Was the Night, Resident Evil: Retribution) and his men are willing to kill for, leaving him no option other than to revert to violence once again.
The idea of pitting one psychotic killer against another isn’t really that unusual, although it’s usually framed as an anti-hero versus a villain. Dangerous however seems to want us to accept Dylan as an actual hero but goes about it in a seriously fucked up way. One moment he’s slicing an innocent woman’s hand open so her scream will lure one of Cole’s men to him. The next, he’s calling Dr. Atwood for help. Despite knowing how dangerous Cole is, he wants help keeping himself from “falling back into old habits”, not help as in heavily armed law enforcement. He never even mentions Cole or the fact he’s in the middle of a firefight.
There’s some humour in those scenes as the advice he gets turns out to be inadvertently on target. But Gibson is barely in the picture and doesn’t put much effort into his scenes. Janssen similarly has almost no screen time but she is the one cast member who actually shares a scene with Gibson. The film’s other Gibson, Tyrese, at least gets to have a shootout with the bad guys.
As for Scott Eastwood, he’s not bad in the lead role. He’s not exactly a great actor but, let’s be honest, neither was his father. He’s a bit better built and looks more believable in hand-to-hand scenes, but even playing a psychopath he can’t quite deliver the chilling intensity of Dirty Harry at his best.
The revelation of what is hidden on the island isn’t all that surprising, although there is one detail I wasn’t expecting. What isn’t a surprise is that Dangerous manages to waste its potential as well and settle for a climactic fight while mommy dearest dangles on the edge of a platform. And a final scene that isn’t nearly as surprising as the filmmakers think it is.
Not a total failure, but far from the film it should have been, Dangerous is actually anything but. It’s a mild thriller that constantly plays it safe where it needed to take chances. Lionsgate will give Dangerous a limited theatrical release as well as making it available On-Demand on November 5th. You can check their website for more information.