Austin Film Festival 2017 Review: 24 HOURS TO LIVE

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

In the tradition of Hal Needham (Smokey and the Bandit) and more recently, Chad Staheski and David Leitch (John Wick), stunt coordinator-turned- director Brian Smrz helms this intense, visceral and violent action flick which stars Ethan Hawke.  Hawke stars as Travis Conrad, a former elite soldier who now works as a freelance killer-for-hire.  After losing his wife and child to hands of another killer, Travis decides to take a much-needed hiatus from the hitman business.  When his military friend Jim Morrow (Paul Anderson) shows up with a juicy and lucrative offer, Travis reluctantly accepts.  The job doesn’t go exactly as planned when the target, a skilled Interpol named Lin (Qing Xu), fights back and kills Travis out of self-defense.   A new cutting edge medical procedure brings him back to life for the interested parties to acquire information, but his revival is only temporary.  Using his skills, Travis escapes, but only has twenty-four hours to stop Jim from finishing the job.

Written by Zach Dean and Jim McClain, 24 Hours to Live has expertly choreographed action sequences that are certain to thrill audiences, but also has a ludicrous premise that lack credibility and a few moments that don’t make any sense.  That said, the drama and redemptive direction for the Travis Conrad character do make for some compelling character-driven moments.  Overall, this movie won’t win any writing awards, but the solid direction and performances by the cast make it very watchable.  Ethan Hawke seems to be the least likely actor cast in an action role, but the talented performer actually pulls it off nicely.  The movie also features great performances by Rutger Hauer, Qing Xu, Paul Anderson, Liam Cunningham, and Nathalee Boltt.  So, the story, and its lack of credibility, doesn’t quite work completely and doesn’t offer much people haven’t already seen prior to this. However,  the solid performances and thrilling action sequences make 24 Hours to Live a watchable and enjoyable piece of action nonsense.

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