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The Best Man Review

April 25, 2023 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Best Man Dolph Lundgren Image Credit: Saban Films
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The Best Man Review  

The Best Man Review

Luke Wilson– Cal
Brendan Fehr– Bradley
Dolph Lundgren– Anders
Nicky Whelan– Brook
Scout Taylor-Compton– Hailey
Scott Martin– Axel
Andrey Ivchenko– Viktor
Ryan Devlin– Aaron
Chris Mullinax– Chuck
King Orba– Marshall

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Shane Dax Taylor
Screenplay by C. Alec Rossel and Shane Dax Taylor, based on a story by Daniel Zirilli

Distributed by Saban Films

Rated R for violence, language, and brief drug use
Runtime– 93 minutes

The Best Man is available via digital, On Demand, and in select theaters starting April 21st, 2023

Image Credit: Saban Films

The Best Man, directed by Shane Dax Taylor and available via digital, On Demand, and in select theaters starting April 21st, 2023, is a bizarre new action flick that plays a bit against type, creating a unique viewing experience that’s both satisfying and unsatisfying at the same time. I appreciate the idea of “doing something different” but, at the same time, the movie makes some choices that are just baffling.

The Best Man stars Luke Wilson as Cal, a retired badass mercenary who is getting married. After asking his fellow retired badass mercenary Bradley (Brendan Fehr) to be his best man at the wedding, Cal heads to a resort in a remote part of, I believe, Colorado, to meet up with his fiancé Brook (Nicky Whelan), her mega rich father Chuck (Chris Mullinax), and her sister Hailey (Scout Taylor-Compton). Bradley gets there soon after, as well as Anders (Dolph Lundgren), another fellow retired badass mercenary. We then see everyone interact with one another. Cal and Brook are going to make a great married couple. Anders enjoys hanging out at the hotel bar, getting drunk and reminiscing about living in Thailand, a place Anders can apparently relax (we also see Anders hit on the heavily tattooed piano player). And Bradley and Hailey have tremendous chemistry (they spend the night hanging out at the pool and having off screen sex). It’s looking like it’s going to be a magical wedding and party.

So the wedding ceremony begins, there’s a snafu when Bradley realizes that he doesn’t have the rings that Cal left with him the day before (Bradley and Hailey run off to find the rings, which they eventually find at the pool), and a band of heavily armed terrorists enter the resort with the help of the hotel manager (I believe this is Aaron, played by Ryan Devlin) and start killing the staff (there’s a disturbing scene where these terrorists shoot everyone in the kitchen and then drag the bodies somewhere). Why are there terrorists killing people and taking over the resort during Cal’s wedding? Who would do such a thing?

At the very beginning of the movie, we see Cal, Bradley, and Anders, along with a few other fellow mercenaries, rescue a kidnaped Brook from a criminal organization. While Cal and his team manage to shoot and kill several bad guys, the bad guys manage to shoot and kill a few members of Cal’s team (the poor van driver gets shot in the head). One of Cal’s team, Axel (Scott Martin), is shot and drops to the ground, believed to be dead. Because of the heavy fighting between Cal’s team and the bad guys, Cal decides that they have to leave the area immediately and Cal leaves Axel behind, figuring he’s dead. Unfortunately for Cal and his friends and Brook and everyone at the resort, Axel wasn’t dead, and after being tortured by the bad guys and then escaping, Axel came up with a revenge scheme. Cal and Bradley and Anders (and, really, anyone who gets in the way) will have to die, and Axel wants to get paid (he’ll get Brook’s Dad Chuck to give him millions of dollars. Chuck can afford it).

So Cal, Brook, Anders, Bradley, and Hailey scatter as Axel and his terrorist henchmen kill some more people and take other people hostage. Axel’s lead henchman Viktor (Andrey Ivchenko) also goes looking for Cal and his friends. Will Viktor be able to find his targets? And will Cal, Bradley, and Anders figure out how to stop Axel and his henchmen and save everyone before more innocent people die?

Image Credit: Saban Films

It’s odd how The Best Man has three capable leads in Luke Wilson, Brendan Fehr, and Dolph Lundgren but doesn’t really allow any of them to shine or be the lead. At first, you think Wilson is going to be the main lead because it’s his wedding, he needs to keep both Brook and Chuck safe, and he was the lead of the badass mercenary team back when he was a badass mercenary so having him be the main lead would make sense. On top of that, Wilson isn’t exactly known as an action star, so it would also make sense to have him be the main lead because it isn’t something you see every day. But we only see Wilson’s Cal in action a few times, otherwise he’s on the run trying to come up with a plan of attack. Then you think Fehr is going to be the main lead because he has to protect Scout Taylor-Compton’s Hailey and it would make sense to see them the most escaping almost sudden death from Viktor and the other terrorists. Fehr and Taylor-Compton have tremendous chemistry and it’s fun seeing them interact in the midst of danger. But Fehr’s Bradley just isn’t the main lead (it just never seems like he is. It’s a feeling you get when you see him). And then there’s Dolph Lundgren, who is, well, Dolph Lundgren. If Wilson and Fehr weren’t in this movie you just know he would be wiping the floor with every scumbag terrorist that he comes across. But Lundgren spends most of the movie either drunk or trying to sober up, which is just weird because, again, he’s Dolph Lundgren. Why isn’t he running at these bad guys and karate kicking them into oblivion? Lundgren gets to do a little of that, sure, but not as much as he normally would. It’s all so very strange.

Image Credit: Saban Films

Now, that isn’t to say that Wilson, Fehr, and Lundgren don’t excel at what we see them do. Again, Wilson isn’t known as an action star, so it’s kind of cool to see him shoot guns and engage in a few hand-to-hand brawls with various terrorists (Wilson’s Cal sure does know how to use a knife). And Fehr is a guy who has done his share of action stuff while also doing the made for cable Christmas movie (that’s what I generally know him from) so it’s fun to see him switch from being a super nice guy to a guy you don’t want to mess with in the blink of an eye. And it’s fun to see Lundgren play against type and not be the most supremely violent of the bunch (Lundgren’s Anders actually gets his ass kicked in one hand-to-hand brawl, which helps solidify Anders as a badass mercenary who has been through the shit too many times, is not quite the badass mercenary he used to be, and he’s doing the best he can. He’s also trying to get sober as quickly as possible, which is likely hard to do when your new “job” as a retired badass mercenary is to get drunk as often as possible).

Image Credit: Saban Films

The real standout of the movie is Scott Martin as lead terrorist Axel. Martin is clearly having the time of his life as Axel, being a violent smartass who just wants his revenge and to get paid. You never really like him, he’s just so damn repellant, but at the same time you do sort of understand where he’s coming from. He was left for dead, he was tortured for months on end, how could he not be pissed about what happened to him and want revenge? But did he really have to shoot the resort’s head of security, who was knocked out after drinking a cup of doctored coffee? No, of course not. And he didn’t have to kill a big chunk of the resort’s staff. He just did that because he wanted to. So, yeah, you understand him, but Axel is also a terrible person and he deserves everything that’s coming to him (I mean, if he just wanted revenge on Cal and Bradley and Anders, why not use his own badass mercenary skills to hunt them down and take them out one by one? He could have done that and still found a way to get paid. Axel made a series of wrong choices, is what I’m saying).

And Scout Taylor-Compton is also excellent as Hailey. She’s funny, she has great chemistry with Fehr (which is great since they spend so much time together), and she also somehow manages to run and fight while wearing an insanely tight maid of honor dress that has no straps on it. That’s got to be hard to do.

The action that we do get in The Best Man is competently shot and fairly well staged. The hand-to-hand brawls are also generally exciting. The movie could have used more of both, but what we get is okay enough.

The Best Man is an action flick that is likely going to both excite its audience and annoy it. It features a non-action star doing action well and a top notch action star playing a character that is no longer the man of action he used to be. On that level, it does what it sets out to do. But at the same time that set up just isn’t very satisfying. You kind of wish it would do more. Hopefully, The Best Man is a big enough success that we get some sort of sequel/prequel deal where Luke Wilson, Brendan Fehr, and Dolph Lundgren are all men of action, in the shit from start to finish. They do make for a good action team.

Even with its issues, The Best Man is worth checking out. So, yeah, see it, see it, see it.

Image Credit: Saban Films

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: At least 30

Explosions: A biggish small one.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A rescue operation, machine gun hooey, bullet to the head, a massive shootout, a van escape, someone riding a horse in the snow, beer drinking, guy bullshit, a lack of cell service, hotel safe hooey, casino hooey, bourbon drinking, foreshadowing, flirting, a very short skirt, off screen pool sex, suspect coffee, more bourbon drinking, a hot babe in her underwear, a very drunk man, serious killing, door bombs, dead body removal, power cutting, a brief shootout, exploding door, throat slitting, golf club used as a weapon, death by knife, satellite phone hooey, bullet to the gut, neck snap, a disguise, safe room hooey, a hand-to-hand brawl, glass bottle to the head, guy getting punched off a balcony, another hand-to-hand brawl, a second neck snap, serious ear drum shattering, serious grape popping, and a happy ending.

Kim Richards? None

Gratuitous: Luke Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Brendan Fehr, a van going down the road, Luke Wilson drinking a beer, Scout Taylor-Compton, Dolph Lundgren drinking at the bar, bourbon, Dolph Lundgren telling a story about the time he got drunk in Afghanistan, Luke Wilson taking a verbal shot at Connecticut, an indoors golf simulator, a piano player covered in tattoos, Dolph Lundgren playing the piano, Scott Taylor-Compton wearing an incredibly short skirt and smoking a joint in the hotel pool, blowing marijuana smoke into someone’s mouth, Dolph Lundgren drunk off his ass, movie’s villain shooting a guy that’s knocked out, Dolph Lundgren trying to sober up, multiple knife deaths, safe room hooey, Dolph Lundgren disguising himself, serious ear drum shattering, serious grape popping, and a happy ending.

Best lines: “I want you to be my best man. What do you say?,” “Oh my God, there’s my baby,” “Somebody told me this place has a safe room,” “Did you take the tour? No, I’m taking a tour of bourbon country,” “No. What? Absolutely not,” “I always thought that was just a pick up line that he could play the piano,” “So, what’s your deal?,” “Nothing but the best for this wedding party,” “Oh, boy,” “Shrimp cocktail?,” “So how did a squirrely fucker like you get put in charge of a place like this?,” “Shut the fuck up! We’ve all been shot before,” “Hey, Vic. Do me a favor and save that first kiss for me,” “I’m so scared. What are we gonna do?,” “He’s shitfaced. If my daughter was marrying that man I would be, too,” “When he dies this is on you, Bradley,” “That man is in need of a killing,” “What is this moron doing?,” “Axel Bates, you fucking rat! You’re a dead man!,” Hey, remember the colonel. Yeah, whatever the fuck that means,” and “I love you all.”

The final score: review Good
The 411
The Best Man, directed by Shane Dax Taylor and available via digital, On Demand, and in select theaters starting April 21st, 2023, is a bizarre new action flick that plays a bit against type, creating a unique viewing experience that’s both satisfying and unsatisfying at the same time. I appreciate the idea of “doing something different” but, at the same time, the movie makes some choices that are just baffling. It does have a good cast, though, and features some interesting performances, especially from the villain played by Scott Martin. Scout Taylor-Compton is also fantastic. It has issues, but The Best Man is worth checking out. Maybe if the movie is super successful we’ll get a proper team up action movie with Luke Wilson, Brendan Fehr, and Dolph Lundgren fighting the bad guys with guns and knives and bombs and hand-to-hand brawling from start to finish. The world definitely needs that movie.

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The Best Man, Bryan Kristopowitz