Thanks to an unstoppable work ethic that seemingly finds him appearing in a movie every two months, which are usually action thrillers that are released exclusively on digital and VOD, Frank Grillo rarely gets the credit he deserves for his acting chops. Sure, he can kick ass with the best, but his recent collaborations with filmmaker John Swab have allowed him to offer the best of both worlds, with the bruises. little dixie the last example.
Previously associated for critique of healthcare. body runners twisted family drama I dared – both of which operated within the parameters of the crime genre – the duo’s third film doesn’t try to hide its influences. little dixie It might not be for everyone, but it wears its heart on its sleeve when it comes to enjoying the atmosphere, tension, and unwavering violence that harkens back to the glory days of revenge-fueled classics.
We all know Grillo can hold his own in a fight or on-screen gunfight, and he’s got a lifetime of training to cash the checks his mouth is more than capable of running, but he’s also been developing a run of solid dramatic performances within his established wheelhouse. It was the best, by far, of the recent biopic. Lamborghini: the man behind the legendand showed an untapped vein of deadpan comic timing in Joe Carnahan boss levelbut little dixie it gives him a chance to drop bodies and pathos in equal measure.
The actor leads the cast as Doc Alexander, a repairman of sorts who used to serve in the military with Eric Dane’s recently elected governor, Richard Jeffs. A tenuous hidden truce exists between the corrupt ex-prosecutor and a drug cartel in exchange for financial backing, but when the delicate alliance falls apart, Beau Knapp’s ruthless Cuckoo kidnaps Doc’s daughter, Nell (Sofia Bryant), and lists their ruthless demands for his return.
With no choice but to do as asked, Doc goes on a rampage of retribution that sees him turn his back on his few remaining friends, because absolutely nothing will stop him from getting his son back safe and sound. Based on that synopsis alone, I could expect little dixie to follow a fairly straightforward A-to-B narrative, and while that’s certainly the case in some cases, it takes a few unexpected detours along the way.
I don’t want to dive into spoiler territory, but having recognizable names like Dane, Annabeth Gish, Thomas Dekker, Peter Greene, and more along the way lulls you into a false sense of security about who ends up where and why, very bit of coming to pass when the credits roll after a whirlwind 100 minutes.
Swab has established his foothold in the crime genre, and has proven himself an expert at it, with each of his films aiming to paint the familiar with a fresh coat of paint. There is nothing particularly inventive, imaginative, or even fancy about little dixie, which is precisely why it works. Sometimes all you want to do is sit back and watch a talented cast and crew plunge into an unabashedly tough story with gruesome, hair-raising, shocking results, and that’s exactly what you get.
Knapp particularly stands out as Cuco, diving so deep into the shaven-headed, tattooed, almost otherworldly cartel member that you’d have no idea he’s the same guy who appeared in Netflix’s police procedural. seven seconds or Showtime’s historical miniseries The good lord’s bird. He’s a strange, almost disturbing guy, which means that no matter how far Doc is forced to go during his trial by fire, he’s never in danger of being unsympathetic when his opponent is so disturbingly unpleasant.
After a bullet-riddled opening act sets the stage, it soon becomes clear that no one in little dixie It is safe. On the surface, Cuco’s request to ensure Nell’s safety sounds unachievable since it’s almost impossible to achieve when you hear it out loud, but it happens halfway through the story, generating an underlying sense of danger that’s impossible. jerk every time she cocks a gun, a car screeches, or a door opens.
It may not sound like a compliment to call little dixie a “meat and potatoes” thriller, but it is. He has no airs, graces or ideas above his position; he simply wants to entertain by bringing the old school into the 21st century. Based on the evidence, you’d imagine that Charles Bronson would give Grillo and Swab his stamp of approval.
The brutal retrospective thriller ‘Little Dixie’ has no airs or graces about what it is or what it wants to be, and that’s exactly why it hits the spot.