22 November 2017 | andrewmakatsaria
Surprise action film of the year, will go down as an overlooked gem
The story's nothing to write home about, think Crank crossed with any globe-trotting spy flick, crossed with John Wick-like action set-pieces. Ethan Hawke does well as a man running low on-time, literally, as he races to find the people responsible for putting him in a state that he is as well as protecting the target he was meant to assassinate as well as her key witness. There's the mystery behind the dead family subplot, there's an older, war vet step- father figure subplot, an old-friendship gone astray yet still bound by brotherly loyalty or some something, I don't know I'm just ticking the boxes of action movie clichés right now, just hold on a bit longer. Despite all the clichés however, the story does manage to pull you in on itself, due to Hawke's sheer screen presence honestly, at least enough to see all it's glorious action sequences and thanks to its brisk pace, once things pickup and Hawke starts running on the clock, again quite literally, it's an adrenaline-fueled non-stop thrill ride.
Some of the best action sequences include: an assault on a safe house with high-caliber sniper rifles that literally send bodies flying after being hit by what would seem like mini-rockets, gushing blood over walls and flinging bodies across the room as if a ghost from paranormal activity film got a hold of them. That assault escalates into a car chase, with some really slick cinematography and a level of ballistic destruction applied to cars and whatever the two cross-firing cars manage to hit between each other, is quite amazing to behold, it's as if the director, Brian Smrz looked at the car chase from "Army of Two The Devil's Cartel" and was like:" Yeah I like that ! do that in a movie". The few hand to hand combat sequences are handled equally well with long-takes and clearly presented fight choreography that seems like a more toned down version of John Wick's fight ordeal, but still entertaining to watch, the finale action showdown plays out like a sort of mini- The Raid film.
All in all, this is a smooth hour and a half package that is great to watch on a plane or a train, with a strong lead, passably average plot, fast pace and some good set-pieces 24 Hours to Live is a short, fun, occasionally flawed, but consistently watchable and at times thrilling good time. 80s action films and figures would be proud.