The film is essentially a chase film at points and Christian Sesma shoots with an eye for intensity and some good fight sequences. Unfortunately the film does veer unnecessarily off course to pad out the (still quite brief) running time. AWOL-72 does have a ruthless edge but cannot quite decide whether it wants to be a modern day Spy flick or a vengeful Thriller. This is personified by an out of place mid-film sub-plot involving sex trafficking, motels and greasy women-abusing criminals and corrupt cops. Although ironically that out of place plot does interest a bit more than the main narrative itself, which again undermines the film as a whole. A matter not particularly aided by the finale, which is delivered as though it is a big bombshell twist but will leave most just shrugging and saying “well we presumed that was the case”.
Still Luke Goss is again reliable in the lead and much like the copious other Action films he has appeared in, gives the lead character a rough charm. There are also some enjoyable supporting performances from Roop who is good as Conrad’s more than capable girlfriend, Bokeem Woodbine as tracksuit wearing assassin Myron and Adam Gregor as Special Agent Cushko. Although music superstar RZA is less fortunate as Detective Adams, as his character gives him little more to do than tout the laws been broken and look disappointed throughout. There may be some fine performances and action bits but as a whole the film is painted in very broad strokes. The writing is overly familiar to anybody who has watched merely a handful of Action/Thrillers, with the atypical dialogue (“that’s above your pay grade” “don’t do this”) filling out the script and a plot that never sticks to the point and becomes confused and uninvolving as a result.
All in all this film is a fine watch for a rainy afternoon, it is reasonably well made, fast paced and offers the odd bit of fun but that is where it ends. You could pick out another action film at random and chances are strings of AWOL-72s DNA can be found within. The film is, simply put, another in the ever-expanding straight-to-disc action crowd that may not make one switch over but at the same time will be mostly forgotten as soon as the credits roll.
Review by Jack Bottomley
AWOL-72 is out now on DVD and digital.