DVD Review: The Veteran

STUDIO: Inception | DIRECTOR: Matthew Hope | CAST: Toby Kebbell, Brian Cox, Adi Bielski, Tony Curran, Tom Brooke
DVD RELEASE DATE: 4/10/2012 | PRICE: DVD $26.98
BONUSES: none
SPECS: R | 99 min. | Action thriller | 1.85:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

 

As we see in the 2011 British action-thriller film The Veteran, it’s not just American soldiers who returned home from the war in Afghanistan who return home troubled and out of work. British combatants faced the same difficult return from the battlefield—and when you live in the dodgy hoods of London, there’s still a war to fight, though it’s not always apparent who the bad guys are.

The Veteran movie scene

Toby Kebbell is The Veteran.

Mentally scarred soldier Robert Miller (Toby Kebbell, War Horse) does his best to adjust to civilian life but he’s pulled into a Tinker Tailor-ish plot of intrigue when he’s given the job by a former platoon-mate to monitor the activities of suspected Al Qaeda terrorists who may be planning a domestic bombing. The leader of the anti-terrorist group is Gerry (Brian Cox, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), who is secretly giving the orders, but you never know for whom.

Mired in all of this is the lovely Alayna (Adi Bielski), a damsel in distress who has secrets of her own. Meanwhile, Robert is in a small gang war with the local hoods, who want him to use his skills with ordnance for their nefarious activities.

The Veteran’s scenario could have tumbled into Harry Brown-ish revenge action, and there are elements of it on display, but director Matthew Hope makes sure all the fighting is in place to move the plot along. That said, it would have been more effective if writers Hope and Robert Henry Craft could have come up with a plot device that didn’t find Robert being abducted or attacked from behind. (For a former soldier, Robert is surprisingly unaware that there are bad guys sneaking up on him…)

In any case, the first 97 minutes are a build up to what we’re certain is Hope’s intention all along, to leave us with a shocking and surprising payoff in the last minute that drives home the “What are we fighting for?” theme. It works, yes, but it’s a little to high-minded. It’s definitely not a Hollywood ending, that’s for sure.

The Veteran will appeal to those who like their fistfights and gun battles timed to every five minutes. But, again, the ending may leave them cold. Or, heaven forbid, thoughtful.

 

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About Buzz

Buzz McClain reviews DVDs for Playboy magazine and is a former critic for Video Business magazine. But what he really wants to do is direct.