BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA (2015)
Written and directed by Ken Sanzel
Two gunfighters who take part in underground duelling matches find themselves with common interests they can help each other with. Colt is looking for a man who killed her brother after a duelling match went wrong but knows only his name and not what he looks like which is where a fellow gunfighter named John can help her. John, on the other hand, is looking to duel with the mysterious Zorringer, the finest dueller alive, who’s affairs are taken care of by his seductress manager. After beating his competitors, John wants to prove himself with the ultimate challenge but is he truly up for it?
BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA focuses on the underground culture of duelling. Two individuals armed with their own pistol and wearing body armour stand opposite one another with their pistols holstered. An area is marked which they must stand inside. When an object thrown by the referee lands on the ground in the middle of the duo, they must shoot each other in the chest or back, wherever the body armour protects them. The aim is to plant enough shots on the opponent as quickly as possible to make them move out of their designated area. Once a gunfighter has fallen out of that area, mostly from the pain of being shot in the chest, they have a five count to return to their area and should they fail to do so in that time, the duel is over and the winner collects their financial reward. With elements of life or death in their hands and taking risks with a big financial return, you can certainly see the warped appeal of the sport, much like the guys who enjoyed receiving beatings did in Fight Club. However, just because they’re wearing a bullet-proof vest doesn’t mean that the gunslingers don’t feel a thing. On the contrary, they end up with blunt force trauma which can affect the internal organs and even break bones. If hit in the same place again, the damage is surely to be serious if not fatal.
Using such an interesting and brutal sport, I expected BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA to be a gritty action film however these duelling matches are about as exciting as the film gets and eventually even the matches become a monotonous bore. The film’s stars, Ryan Kwanten and Freida Pinto, play two likable characters but there’s nothing much to them. This isn’t so much a fault with the actors but the material with which they have been given. The script lacks energy and half the time I can’t tell what is being said on-screen, not that I’m missing much. The film prefers to concentrate on the road journey of these two individuals and their seperate quests to settle for which they’d give their life. Not even some minor flirting or occasional sex scenes can spice up the movie. It just has very little going for it except for the interesting underground sport subject.
A great idea, in theory, but lacking a compelling execution with little story besides.