ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Land of Bad’ is a knuckle-biter

Feb 16, 2024, 3:00 PM

ksl movie show review steve salles reviews land of bad...

KSL Movie Show reviewer Steve Salles says he almost ignored 'Land of Bad.'

SALT LAKE CITY — One of the movies that we almost overlooked this week, mainly because of the weird title and unknown distributor, is “Land of Bad.”

But then I caught that it had two of the Hemsworth brothers, sorry not Chris, but Liam and Luke, plus Russell Crowe and Milo Ventimiglia and I thought okay – let’s see what this is about.

A Delta Force team is sent into a hostile area to attempt to rescue a JTAC or Joint Terminal Attack Controller from capture.

The team is led by Master Sergeant John “Sugar” Sweet (Milo Ventimiglia), along with Sergeant Bishop (Ricky Whittle), Sergeant Abel (Luke Hemsworth) and recently assigned Sergeant JJ “Playboy” Kinney (Liam Hemsworth).

So of course, the rookie JJ gets picked on, mainly because he has little field experience and he prefers Fruit Loops over Frosted Flakes.

But deep down, the team worries his inexperience could jeopardize the mission and their lives. He assures them he won’t let them down.

His main job is to coordinate with a U.S. Air Force drone pilot, in this case Captain Eddie “Reaper” Grimm (Russell Crowe) to provide air support from a General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper — the really big jet drone — for this extraction team in the Philippines.

We saw some of this in the 2014 movie, “Good Kill” starring Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot struggling emotionally with some collateral civilian deaths after a strategic mission. Excellent film, by the way.

In this case, it should be a quick drop-in pre-dawn. Find the enemy compound, retrieve the hostage and be back by lunch.

Easy peasy… Yeah. Sure.

The mission in “Land of Bad” is anything but simple

Russell Crowe’s character “Reaper” is a veteran pilot who can’t keep his mouth shut, which is why he is still a captain and not a general.

However, he’s an excellent drone pilot, which is just what these boys will need when things get messy.

And messy it will get.

First off, the compound is part of a series of underground tunnels, more heavily fortified than intel has suggested and a lot more combatants to deal with.

Shortly after they arrive, RPGs are peppering their area. Abel is mortally wounded near JJ and it looks like another missile launch has taken out Sugar and Bishop.

That leaves JJ with his call sign “Playboy” left to high-tail it out of harm’s way, with Reaper keeping watch from above.

My first thought is there is no way this kid is making it out of there, especially if the rest of the team members are gone.

So let this military thriller escalate, as Reaper and Playboy must work together to prevent a number of the bad guys from locating the kid’s location in hopes that he can reach the extraction zone in time.

What amazed me was how far technology has advanced to make this type of warfare possible. I can’t see how anyone would want to go up against that. The enemy is less equipped but equally determined.

This is a knuckle-biter through and through. Great action, a fair amount of blood and harrowing moments. It’s got it all, making “Land of Bad” one of the more intense military movies I’ve seen in a while.

LAND OF BAD (B) Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout. Starring Liam Hemsworth, Russell Crowe, Milo Ventimiglia, Luke Hemsworth and Ricky Whittle. Co-written and directed by William Eubank (“The Signal” “Underwater”) Filmed in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Running time: 110 minutes.

Steve Salles is the co-host of the KSL Movie Show. Follow the show on Facebook. Join the KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500. 

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KSL Movie Show review: ‘Land of Bad’ is a knuckle-biter