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Land of Bad (2024) - Movie Review

Movies & TV

By Olivia W.

- Feb 21, 2024

In the tense military drama "Land of Bad" our attention is divided between two characters hailed as heroes, each battling in unique ways. Both are pitted against ruthless terrorists notorious for their brutal acts revealed early in the plot.

The narrative is most captivating when it focuses on J.J. "Playbook" Kinney (Liam Hemsworth), the able but rookie Air Force Sergeant. Hemsworth brilliantly portrays a man of action, whose compelling performance is supplemented by well-coordinated action sequences. Russell Crowe is worth watching minus the irksome character he portrays, Captain Eddie "Reaper" Grimm. Crowe's character is a socially inept yet skilled drone pilot who tries steering Kinney away and then towards rescue.

Crowe shines when he is immersed in reading and interpreting data from the multitude of screens around him, assisted ably by his right-hand woman, Staff Sergeant Nia Branson (Chika Ikogwe). However, his constant drive to make the higher-ups acknowledge his potential distracts from the film's main storyline. While "Land of Bad" is marketed as a high-thrill military rescue drama, it often digresses into a lecture on the failings of the American military in the modern age.

In his capacity as Kinney’s controller, Grimm directs Hemsworth's soldier through a torrent of gunfire, enemy-infested terrains and a labyrinth of puzzles in the quest for a high-priority hostage. Unseen dangers emerge when Kinney’s team clashes with sadistic enemies known to be significant threats in Southern Asia. The film fails in its attempt to elaborate on why these villains are the worst, often reducing them to hindrances to Kinney's journey.

Land of Bad (2024) - Movie Review

Much of the film's pacing is interrupted by the undue screen time for Grimm, whose quirky traits and personal habits are frequently highlighted. His fixation on his work chair, his love for Keurig-style coffee pods, and his honest opinions on social norms do little to enhance his rapport with Kinney. In fact, it seems unnecessary to force-feed viewers with such details about Grimm's character.

Through his own insight on his personal life, Grimm inadvertently explains why most of his scenes are annoying and why they overshadow Kinney’s exciting and occasionally chilling scenarios. "Land of Bad" is most gripping when its characters demonstrate their specialized skill sets, as opposed to their attempts at appearing human.

Director, William Eubank, well known for his earlier technical works like the Kristen Stewart starrer disaster-adventure "Underwater," regales viewers with his striking action portrayal in "Land of Bad," starkly lit and paced to create a sense of thrill and hysteria. The precision and visual grandeur of these scenes is best embodied in an airborne missile strike, laying waste to a conglomeration of militants and their equipment.

Despite its evident leaning towards being a drama, "Battle Misfires" manages to entertain with moments of unexpected action. For instance, a scene featuring Milo Ventimiglia in an unplanned duel with a terrorist adds a moment of raw thrill to the film. Had the creators stuck to this high-energy approach, the end product might have better appealed to the action-film aficionado. All in all, "Battle Misfires" is an action-packed drama with a few entertaining episodes.


6 / 10

Unravel the chaotic journey of two contrasting heroes in a military disaster as they navigate tensions in a frantic rescue mission.