Section 8 (2022) Review
Section 8 begins in Mosul where we see Jake (Ryan Kwanten, Glorious, Kill Chain) and his commanding officer Tom Mason (Dolph Lundgren, Hard Night Falling, Castle Falls) barely escape a Taliban ambush. Five years later, he’s back home with his wife and son. He works as a mechanic for his uncle Earl (Mickey Rourke, Skin Traffik, The Wrestler) but that’s not covering the bills.
Earl on the other hand is being shaken down for protection money by some rather dangerous people. Fresh (Robert LaSardo, Damon’s Revenge, Bloodthirst) and his crew come to collect and when Jake intervenes and beats them down they respond by killing his family. When Jake avenges them, he ends up with a life sentence.
Chad Law (6 Bullets, Black Water) who co-wrote Section 8 with Josh Ridgway (High Moon, The Sector) has cranked out so many DTV action films he can write them in his sleep. And considering how by the numbers the film’s first act is, he may have done just that.
It establishes Jake’s war hero status, allows Mickey Rourke to have a few minutes of screen time, and introduces a wife and child who are in the film simply to die and give Jake a reason to get revenge. He kills Fresh, in a strip club of course, so they can get some boobs on screen. And as a result he gets sent up for life because we all know the courts hate war heroes and love gangbangers. You couldn’t do a lazier job of writing and still put words on paper.
While rotting away in San Quentin, having visions of his wife’s murder even though he never saw it, he’s visited by Mason and then by Ramsey (Dermot Mulroney, Agent Game, Young Guns) who offers him his freedom if he’s willing to join a covert operations team. In the film’s one surprising moment, he refuses, so they take him against his will. With all the ex-special ops types willing to sign on with security contractors, why he’s so important is a mystery left unanswered.
Predictably forcing someone to become an assassin backfires and after being reprimanded for not killing unarmed bystanders on his first mission and then being ordered to kill a US Congressman, Jake finds himself on the run with the other members of Section 8 as well as Locke (Scott Adkins, Seized, Eliminators) a hitman who “isn’t burdened by weaknesses like remorse and guilt” gunning for him.
Now, in the hands of the right director and fight coordinator, Section 8 could still have been a solid action film. But Christian Sesma (Every Last One of Them, Vigilante Diaries) directs with a lack of flair that matches the film’s writing. Luke LaFontaine (The Mercenary, Savage Dog) does manage to put together a few good bursts of action and a bruising showdown between Adkins and Kwanten. But it’s not enough to save the film from being anything more than generic.
For those wondering, you can count the number of scenes Adkins is in on one hand and not use all of its fingers. Lundgren has a slightly more important role, but not a lot more screen time. If you were planning on watching Section 8 hoping to see them reteamed after Castle Falls you’ll be extremely disappointed.
Even the multiple twists that are thrown at the viewer in Section 8’s last act aren’t anything new. It’s the same old collection of crosses and double-crosses that we’ve seen dozens of times before. The closest thing to a surprise among them is just where the throwdown with Adkins fits into the timeline.
Section 8 is an underwhelming film with a couple of good scenes and not much else. Worst of all, it ends with the threat of a sequel. It’s currently in limited theatrical release and available on Digital and VOD via RLJE Films. If you’re looking for something similar but hopefully better, FilmTagger has some suggestions.