Land of Bad (2024) Movie Review – No cliché left behind

No cliché left behind

This latest movie from director William Eubank (Underwater) tells the story of a US Army special forces unit who are ambushed during a mission to retrieve a captured intelligence asset from an enemy base somewhere in the South Philippines.

Liam Hemsworth, Luke Hemsworth, Ricky Whittle, and Milo Ventimiglia star as the special forces team, while back at base, Russell Crowe stars as AF Capt. Eddie Grimm ‘Reaper,’ an Air Force drone operator who tries to lead the men to safety. He is joined by Chika Ikogwe as Staff Sgt. Nia Branson who offers him both professional and personal support. 

Action movie fans will enjoy Land of Bad but what about those who enjoy deep and interesting stories? We reveal all in our Land of Bad movie review. 

Land of Bad Movie Review

Land of Bad is far from an original film, featuring as it does a soldier who becomes trapped behind enemy lines after the mission goes wrong. The soldier in question is AF Sgt. JJ Kinney (Liam Hemsworth), who finds himself lost and alone when he becomes separated from the rest of the squad for reasons that we won’t spoil here.

Despite a familiar premise, Land of Bad is entertaining, with some exciting action scenes and a handful of tense moments. Eubank is a good director, ably showcasing the gung-ho heroics that happen on screen, sometimes in gruesome detail when events turn particularly violent. But as thrilling as the film is at times, the script isn’t as hot, due to an overload of cliches and cringe-worthy moments. 

Familiarity doesn’t have to breed contempt but you might roll your eyes as the cliches come thick and fast. Seasoned soldiers ribbing the new guy? Check. Rookie soldier left to save the day? Check. Remote guidance from a man who will do anything to bring his man back home? Check. You could make a Bingo game out of Land of Bad’s setup. 

The film is further scuppered by a few unrealistic moments, such as a scene where Crowe’s drone operator takes a break and plays a quick round of golf, even though he’s supposed to be dedicated to leading his soldiers to safety. It’s a bizarre moment, just one of many, including a sequence near the end of the film where the action is broken up by scenes of Grimm ambling around in a supermarket.

Also incredulous are scenes of the men at base who are supposed to be answering calls from the on-the-ground soldiers but who instead turn the phone’s ringer off so they can focus on a basketball game. They incur Grimm’s wrath for their negligence, but still choose to disregard his instructions because of the hoop action on TV. 

The plot is rather thin too. Little is known about the men’s mission or their enemy, other than the fact that they have to break a valuable asset out of a criminal compound. Needless to say, Land of Bad shouldn’t be your film of choice if you’re looking for a realistic and politically relevant war story.

But if you’re looking for a brainless B-movie, packed full of high-octane action and massive explosions, this will provide some mindless fun if you’re in the right mood for its silliness. The stunt team and visual effects guys are the real stars of the show, with scenes of Kinney doing things that belie his newbie status, and CGI bombs whooshing through the sky and into their intended targets. As such, the film is quite thrilling at times. 

It’s just a pity that the script has more holes than a piece of cheese, with dialogue that rarely sounds authentic and plot twists that stretch the realms of believability. If you can switch your brain off, you might still enjoy the film. But if you try to take the whole thing too seriously, you’ll become as mad as Crowe’s character when he takes his golf club and smashes it into the base’s TV!


Read More: Land of Bad Ending Explained

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