‘Dangerous’ movie review: Scott Eastwood, Mel Gibson star in Die Hard on an Island

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Scott Eastwood channels the quiet angst of his father in Dangerous, a new action-thriller from director David Hackl (Saw V) that follows in the well-worn tracks of Die Hard. But while Clint’s detached, laconic stranger became a Hollywood hero in the 1960s and 70s, the same archetype has become a volatile psychopath in 2021.

Still, the young Eastwood gives one of his most impressive performances to date as a former Navy SEAL and convicted murderer who turns unlikely hero when a gang of criminals crash his brother’s wake. His character exhibits a genuine lack of empathy for everyone else in the Dangerous, which adds some offbeat appeal to what is otherwise a by-the-numbers, direct-to-streaming action movie.

Eastwood plays Dylan “D” Forrester, a recent parolee who served an 8-year murder sentence and now regulates his violent impulses through regular use of depressants. But when he’s attacked by a mystery man in his apartment, D hacks off his ankle bracelet and takes it on the lam to Guardian Island, off the coast of Seattle, to attend his brother’s funeral.

D soon discovers that he isn’t wanted on his brother’s secret island alongside a small cast of characters gathered for the wake. But before mom Linda (Brenda Bazinet) and the local sheriff (Tyrese Gibson) can throw him back to the mainland, a group of goons led by D’s old SEAL boss Cole (Kevin Durand) show up and start shooting up the place.

The stage is set for familiar Die Hard action territory, with Eastwood’s D going into hiding to take out the bad guys and save his late brother’s friends and family. But the nature of his psychopathic personality – he impulsively slices open an innocent woman’s hand to elicit a scream to distract the baddies – add just a little flair to the proceedings.

Mel Gibson, too, livens things up and injects the sluggish Dangerous with some much-needed energy during brief asides as D’s off-kilter shrink, who he phones up in the midst of the action for advice on culling his murderous impulses. Gibson likely shot his scenes in a day or two at what may as well have been his own home, but displays some real charisma in scenes that could have been quite literally phoned in.

Famke Janssen also shows up as the FBI agent on D’s trail, and shares a single scene with Gibson’s psychiatrist; otherwise, the two are completely isolated during the entire runtime of Dangerous, with Janssen’s agent waiting around in a car on the mainland while the action takes place on the island.

Dangerous is a bit rough around the edges for a film of this caliber – stars like Eastwood and Gibson are involved in the blockbuster Fast & Furious universe, and Gibson and Janssen still have a lot to offer – and while the practical effects work during shootings and stabbings is just fine, sub-par CGI and frenetic editing detract from the action scenes.

But Eastwood’s fun performance goes a long way, and director Hackl generally keeps things moving fast enough to maintain at least mild interest. Dangerous lands with real thud by its perfunctory and sloppily thrown-together ending, but for most of the ride it’s acceptable-if-disposable entertainment.

Dangerous

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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