There will never be a shortage of B-action flicks as long as films are being made and William Kaufman’s Shrapnel is yet another that follows a basic template, filled with plug-and-play characters that serve as a backbone for the main draw of these films, that being the action. Shrapnel may not excel in many areas but when the gunplay kicks in there is a modest amount of fun to be had.
The premise is simple: a father and former marine living in Texas along the Mexico border will go to war with the cartel when he searches for his daughter who went missing when she visited Juarez with friends. So, as you can see it’s a generic, but tried-and-true structure. Some plots are built for retelling and a father looking for his missing kid is certainly one of them. These basic plots can be worked with many interchangeable pieces, but the outcome is always the same. Therefore, going into Shrapnel, one should not be expecting deep dramatic layering or anything ultimately unique. This will curb disappointment because the bland progression, the high amounts of implausibility, and a crew of less than intimidating villains is a downer.
Shrapnel does have a strong performance from Jason Patric working in its favor. I think Patric’s an underrated actor and in this one he without question is able to elevate a highly generic character. He has glimpses of sincere emotional intensity to connect you to him as a father desperate to find his daughter. However, the surface level writing prevents the emotional undercurrent of the entire story from landing with any sort of a resonating impact. It feels a bit processed, and the artificial vibe does hinder the intended dramatic connections. But how often do B-Action movies actually accomplish this? The answer is very rarely.
Still, Shrapnel has a tight 89-minute runtime, it moves as fast as expected with little to invest in, and when the action sequences kick in the thrills do as well. The violence and mayhem is far from unique but it’s decently crafted and capably shot so regardless of a by-the-numbers narrative that fails at pulling on the emotional heartstrings the adrenaline certainly picks up when Patric is reverting to his old marine skillset and taking out cartel members.
This is when the film is able to land effective tension to close on a high note after stalling out of the gate. Shrapnel isn’t a memorable film by any means, yet it has its moments when the guns are out and the bullets are flying. It’s a forgettable film but if you enjoy B-Action movies it’s worth a shot when compared to its competition in the B-Action genre.
CAST: Jason Patric, Cam Giganet, Guillermo Ivan, Efrain Villa, Megan Elisabeth Kelly, Teresa Decher DIRECTOR: William Kaufman WRITER(S): Chad Law, Johnny Walters DISTRIBUTOR: Saban Films RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes RATING: R (Violence throughout, language and brief sexuality) YEAR: 2023 LANGUAGE: English GENRE: Action/Thriller
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2023 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.