Saturday, December 2, 2023
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Savage Salvation Review

Robert De Niro now dragged to the depths of straight-to-streaming. But after the fallout and revelations surrounding the reasons for Bruce Willis and his involvement with budget features, it is hard to pass judgement immediately. Actors are workers at their core. Artistry is just a pensive projection from those that value the work. There are those that will value Savage Salvation for what it is, a dumb action flick with little heart that squanders its cast so thoroughly. What a terrible turn for Randall Emmett though, a considerably effective director for the shlock arena after Midnight in the Switchgrass. What it is about his work that attracts bulkier casts is unknowable. 

What is knowable is that an opioid addict as the lead character should provide ample material for depth. Savage Salvation has anything but depth. Glossy guns and quick cuts of absolute nonsense open the stuttering, terrible cuts of Savage Salvation. From slow burn to nail gun violence, an immediate tone is set and the constant fade to black is horrendous. Even a nail to the eye in the opening seconds can do little to muster any courage for what comes after. Beaches, bits of legendary men working away on the screen, Savage Salvation has nothing at all. Vengeance, justice and all the empty nothings of scriptwriting sessions that rattle through all these flabby action fillers are tiresome when performed poorly. 

Considering the immense talent here, more should and could be expected of Malkovich and De Niro. Empty tracks that sound vaguely of something familiar, actors that are now former shells of themselves. It is all particularly empty, but the flashes of stock footage and fading to black, the passage of time pushed backwards, are immensely docile and useless. Sickeningly poor and empty in how it approaches a genuine crisis, using twee country filler tracks is not the correct push forward. Savage Salvation uses interlude-like moments to present a steady flow of empty establishing shots. Those are only worth their weight if they are set to establish anything. Dense action moments are few and far between and even when it gets there the camerawork is unfollowable. Soundtracked poorly, edited atrociously and completely redundant. 

There would be more fun in running around a garden with a Nerf rifle than watching this cast do the same but with prop weaponry. Actors can only do so much, the script is the trail and it takes performers to where they hope to be. Nobody gets off Savage Salvation looking any better. No worse moment than the ending, wading into the murky waters into the arms of a non-descript religious figure as though that were some blessed salvation from the horrors and the wounds of battle. Being tipped into murky water with open wounds is never a good idea, but Savage Salvation has no good ideas. It has nothing. It is intense in its terrible choices, redundant from word go and a tarnishing of the few reputations that had the chance to be ruined by this disastrous feature. Symmetry forced onto the empty characters, the vacuous meaning that pours through this one is dim and insulting. A harsh message is taken with no grace, stuffed into that worthless, cannon fodder write-off. 

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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