FILM REVIEW: Marauders

Marauders

Stars: Bruce Willis, Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista, Adrian Grenier, Johnathon Schaech, Lydia Hull, Tyler Jon Olson, Christopher Rob Bowen, Richie Chance, Chris Hill, Texas Battle, Tara Holt, Alyshia Ochse | Written by Michael Cody | Directed by Steven C. Miller

In 2015 Steven C. Miller, director of horror hits such as The Aggression Scale, Under the Bed and Submerged, made a move into the action genre with the Bruce Willis-featuring Extraction. With his latest film, Marauders, he re-teams with Willis for a film that tells the story of an untraceable group of elite bank robbers execute the perfect heist, making off with millions in cash whilst leaving a dead bank manager in their wake.

The FBI Agents investigating the robbery/homicide (Meloni, Bautista and Grenier) begin to uncover signs of corruption involving the bank’s owner (Willis) and his high power clients. As they dig deeper into the case, the Feds realise that appearances can be deceiving, and in order to untangle a complicated web of deception and corruption they must push themselves to the brink – where the lines between right and wrong are often blurred.

If there’s one thing you can say about all of Steven C. Miller’s films, its that he certainly knows how to create high impact visuals, and with this film he has an entire city to play with. From the constant rain evoking a noirish overtones to the opening death of the bank manager (a slo-mo blast through two glass doors), Marauders looks stunning. Miller doesn’t totally shy away from his horror roots though, this film is as dark and gloomy as any of his prior terror tales and the villains, in their horrific skull/hockey mask disguises, could have stepped straight out of any home-invasion horror movie – and there’s a fantastic nod to H.P. Lovecraft too!

Miller’s visual are matched only by the gravitas of his cast. Meloni, one of my all-time favourite TV cops, is the star of the show. As FBI Agent Montgomery, the lead on the bank robbing cases, he is as determined and stoic as he was playing Elliot Stabler on Law and Order: SVU – only here he has authority behind him, enough to make you think that Montgomery will, no matter what, get this bank robbing gang and save the city. Hard as nails and with a take no prisoners attitude, Montgomery is supported by Adrian Grenier as the newcomer to Montgomery’s team and Dave Bautista as the films comedy relief – throwing out one-liners left and right, in a similar manner to his role as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy. And despite Bride Willis’ prominence on the posters and press for the film his role is little more than an extended cameo, in much the same way he was used in Miller’s Extraction…

A complex, twisting, well-plotted cop drama, Marauders is Steven C. Miller’s most mature film to date. Miller has always been, at least in my eyes, a great director but with his latest movie we have an example of a man who has honed his craft over the course of his career and learnt what makes a film great – no matter the genre. It is the work of a director at the top of his storytelling game, bringing together his plot, his cast and his visuals with aplomb; crafting what is as good a crime/bank-robbery thriller as Ben Affleck’s The Town.

**** 4/5

Marauders is on limited release across the UK now. The film will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD on February 20th 2017.

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