Ambush

February 24, 202340/1005 min
Starring
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Aaron Eckhart, Conner Paolo
Written by
Michael McClung, Johnny Lozano, and Mark Burman
Directed by
Mark Burman
Run Time
1h 44min
Release Date
February 24th, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Ambush starts off with purpose, but as its run time progresses, it starts to lose it as it never recovers by the end and ultimately becomes just as generic as its title

       They say that “ war is hell”  and Mark Burman’s latest sets out to remind us once again. Set in Vietnam, Ambush isn’t another story about taking a hill or defending a LZ. No instead this battle is going to be fought underground, with one mission that could turn the tide of the war.

Somewhere in the jungles of Vietnam, a group of engineers are building what they are told is a possible forward base. The team is led by Ackerman (Conner Paolo), who is trying to maintain some sort of chain of command, despite his lack of experience in the field. Things take a change when a Captain shows up looking for a package of high importance that is to be delivered to the site. That package arrives and not long after they are attacked  by a group of enemy soldiers, who somehow get ahold of what was just delivered. Far away at a safer location, General Drummond (Aaron Eckhart) is in command of this situation and orders the Captain to figure out which way the enemy went and to retrieve that package at all cost. The General also tells him he is sending a tracker named Miller (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who will help them find the place where they most likely taken. That place is underground in a series of tunnels, that will have to be searched. Ackerman and the rest of the pawns are sent down to see what they can find, with the mission to reacquire the package and to map out the tunnels while doing so. Things get difficult and lives are lost, but if they can just complete their mission it will all be worth it.

Written by Johnny Lozano, Michael McClung, and Mark Burman, Ambush isn’t like most Vietnam movies, as it is pretty low on standup battle scenes. Instead what sets it apart is by taking the action underground where in that claustrophobic atmosphere it creates some of its finest moments. The film has the feel of a Vietnam War movie on a lower budget, as Burman keep the cost down by mainly having the story take place at two camps. Burman also doesn’t waste much time in getting the story going, which adds a layer of thrill, as a ticking clock is provided to complete the mission. Although the films stronger points take place underground, so does some of its weakest, as too much time is spent complaining and walking in circles.

Ambush is another good idea that is doomed by a poor script and bad execution. Although there is a feeling of dread in the beginning, It slowly loses it as there is a better chance an argument is going to break out than an enemy solider attacking. I rather thought Paolo did a good job, but most everyone else doesn’t really seem to bring their “A” game. With the mostly lackluster performances and a story that seems to run out of steam way before the end, like a real ambush, this one is best avoided.

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