Mel Odom | Moore, OK USA | 10/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Soft-spoken, hard-eyed, and traveler of a million rough-and-tumble miles, Sam Elliott plays Calvin Dexter, an ex-army special forces warrior who served as a tunnel rat in Vietnam. Armed with a .45 and a flashlight, these guys faced enemies and traps as they wound through miles of underground tunnels. In AVENGER, Dexter is grieving over his daughter's murder and putting his gun out for hire to people who have had loved ones murdered by predators the law won't touch. Contracted by Stephen Edmonds, an affluent businessman, Dexter travels to Bosnia to find out what happened to Edmonds's grown son. Then he has to travel to South Africa and confront a covert op team put into place by the United States to bag his prey.
Sam Elliott is one of those guys you just don't forget. His presence on the screen -- whether as cowboy (THE SACKETTS, CONAGHER), cop (FATAL BEAUTY, SHAKEDOWN), military officer (THE HULK), or hunk (LIFEGUARD) -- leaves a lasting impression. Frederick Forsyth, bestselling author of several thrillers (AVENGER, THE DOGS OF WAR) wrote the book the movie was based on.
I'm a Sam Elliott fan. The man can simply do no wrong in my eyes. I loved him in THE SACKETTS and in MASK (he co-starred with Cher), and I enjoyed him in AVENGER. The made-for-TV movie is a solid piece of work, not like the over-the-top action of "24," but a nice movie to watch and relax while enjoying a story that grips you enough and a character that warms to you. Although the movie doesn't have the frentic pacing of many of today's films, and doesn't rely on a lot of violence or computer generated effects (I love those too, but they are a different venue), it delivers a great story. The scene cuts and movement through the various viewpoint characters is solid as well, pushing the story along quickly.
People who might find Jack Bauer too violent or too unbelievable will probably enjoy AVENGER. And for Elliott's many fans, this is another dependable delivery."
Good for this kind of movie.
Thomist Reader | Ocala, Florida | 12/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoyed this action-adventure movie. Sam Elliott is a kind of cowboy version of Steven Seagal and that works for me. Karma gets passed about and returned at a relatively slow pace in the movie, but the production values are high and the locations are great--or at least, which is important--believable. I sometime check to see where a movie is filmed, but in this case the various places are believeable enough and are not places that I've been so what-the-hey. What was supposed to be Capetown, South Africa, looked like I thought it ought to and I don't want more from this sort of movie.
I'm not sure why this movie doesn't deserve five stars in my mind--there is kind of an agregate of not-quite-up-snuff-details such as the scripting which has peaks and valleys in unexpected places. The Timothy Hutton role was wasted, though he plays an interesting character. Stereotypes abound and cliched dialogue is never far away. But, that's the kind of movie it is. Despite having such good credentials on the production end (goodness, Wolfgang Peterson produced it based on a novel by Frederick Forsyth) I guess not everyone was at the top of their game. Still, its a keeper for me and I'll enjoy it again some day."
Good (if abbreviated) adaptation
A Reader | 05/22/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a decent adaptation of Frederick Forsythe's 340 pg novel into a 92 minute made-for-TV film. Given the relative brevity of the movie, several plot elements have been simplified or left out, and locale altered. On the whole it works well, will certainly satisfy viewers less familiar with the novel - and not greatly annoy those more familiar with the original work. Elliot's performance is excellent, although he doesn't match my mental picture of Cal Dexter - again a problem of great familiarity with the original work."
In the end analysis, & for me, the movie was entertaining, a
Lee Say Keng | Singapore | 10/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"During recent weekends, I had spent some leisure time to watch three action movies on cable television.
The three movies shared a common thread: the principal character was more or less a lone wolf operative, with military background; trained in covert operations & skilled in weaponry.
Although they did not have the plot intensity or complexity when compared with any of the recent 'Bourne' or even 'Bond' movies, they were generally entertaining.
For me, entertainment comes first when I watch a movie.
The first one was 'Target'.
The second movie was 'Avenger', starring Sam Elliott as Calvin Dexter. He played a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran, & an ex-tunnel rat with the Special Forces, who had turned himself into a mercenary for hire.
This movie was roughly based on Frederick Forsyth's novel. I had read many of the author's works e.g. 'Day of the Jackal', 'The Odessa File', 'Dogs of War', during my younger days. Many of his works had been made into movies bearing the same names.
Tormented by the death of his only daughter in the hands of a Panamanian drug dealer, whom he subsequently eliminated, he reluctantly embarked on a personal mission to knock off the bad guys for a price, especially when the authorities had refused to bring them to justice.
In the movie, he took on a contract to locate the only son of a rich & powerful businessman. The latter had apparent connections with the CIA top brass. The son had gone missing while undertaking a missionary trip to war-torn Bosnia. In an earlier scene, his son was actually shot to death by a Bosnian army colonel, Zoran Zilic.
Using leads from the CIA, Calvin managed to trace the rogue colonel to South Africa, & unwittingly his current quest interfered with a CIA sting operation involving the bad guy. It turned out that the CIA also wanted to neutralise Calvin too as a precautionary measure.
A deadly cat & mouse game ensued but our hero was able to outsmart & outmanoeuvre the CIA field operatives as well as the bad guy at the end. The rogue colonel was eventually caught & repatriated to the United States for justice to be served.
Throughout the movie, I found it rather intriguing to watch the dirty workings of the CIA top brass as portrayed, with excellent acting by James Cromwell & Timothy Hutton. They had no qualms in eliminating even, in this case, a highly decorated war hero, for the sake of 'national security'.
Frankly, I did not like the ending part of the movie as CIA was publicly credited for the arrest of the rogue colonel. I guess, in a way, this arrangement would probably allow our unsung hero to continue his personal quest. As he rode off in his four wheels, the apt tagline at the back of the vehicle read: 'NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE'.
Sam Elliott, as Calvin Dexter, certainly impressed me very much in this movie. Tall, thin & wiry, he was a classic picture of the true American hero. I had only watched one of his earlier action movies, 'Hulk'.
In the end analysis, & for me, the movie was entertaining, as far as the plot & action sequences were concerned.