(Original Publication Date: December 9th, 2018) By: John M Jerva

REVIEW: ALL THE DEVIL’S MEN

STARRING: Milo Gibson, Sylvia Hoeks, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Joseph Milson, Elliot Cowan and William Fichtner

DIRECTED BY: Matthew Hope

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OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: A battle-scarred War on Terror bounty hunter is forced to go to London on a manhunt for a disavowed CIA operative, which leads him into a deadly running battle with a former military comrade and his private army.

THE REVIEW: When I first saw the trailer for director Matthew Hope’s ALL THE DEVIL”S MEN, I was immediately drawn to it as it is the type of film that is right in my wheelhouse. The film from Matthew Hope who also brought us 2011’s THE VETERAN is an action-thriller that sheds light on the C.I.A.’s secret soldiers who wage war on terror in the darkness. These bad ass operators don’t exist and if they are ever taken alive or killed in the line of the duty they will be disavowed by the same government that hired them. They consist of ex-spec ops warriors that still need a war to fight ever since their time in the regular military has ended. 

One such operative is ex-Navy S.E.A.L. Jack Collins, played by Mel Gibson’s son Milo, who is damaged goods to say the least. We are introduced to Jack with him doing crunches while hanging upside down in his hotel room in Morocco while he waits for intel on his next mission. Collins is battle scarred to say the least but he still has the lethal skills necessary to complete highly classified missions that no one wants to talk about. 

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Holding the leash to this rabid warrior is C.I.A. operative Leigh (Sylvia Hoeks) who knows that Collins is a ticking time bomb but knows that he can still get the job done. After a successful assassination on a top tier target, Collins is brought to London by Leigh to team up with former comrade Brennan (Fichtner) and ex-Delta operator Samuelson (Gbenga Akinnagbe) to take down a former C.I.A. operative who was disavowed by the company. The man’s name is McKnight (Elliot Cowan) and he is a little disgruntled to say the least as he has now switched sides and is looking to acquire a weapon of mass destruction from the Soviets. 

There is one problem, however, as one of McKnight’s soldiers is a former comrade and friend of Collins named Deighton (Joseph Millson) who Collins once saved in Afghanistan. Now the three man shadow team must wage an unrelenting war on those who once fought for our side and their private mercenary army before it is too late and McKnight gets his hands on a tactical nuke. 

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Bodies and betrayals begin to mount up as Collins fights his own personal demons and a private army with the lives of millions of innocent people hanging in the balance. the streets of London are about to run red with blood and Collins is a rabid dog with nothing left to lose. 

Mel Gibson was and is an action icon with franchise roles in the MAD MAX and LETHAL WEAPON films and now his son Milo is carrying on the family action legacy with his first starring role in the new action-thriller ALL THE DEVIL’S MEN. Gibson, like his father, is stoic and unnerving and carries himself well as Jack Collins, the damaged CIA operator who probably should have called it quits a long time ago. As Collins, Gibson is rock solid and you would think that this is his tenth starring role and not his first. He has had roles in HACKSAW RIDGE and GANGSTER LAND but this film lives or dies with his performance. Gibson has the looks and the physical tenacity to sell both the dramatic and action scenes of the film and we are now looking at a new generation of leading action man as Gibson has arrived with this thriller. 

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Gibson is surrounded by a stellar cast for his first assignment with the always reliable William Fichtner playing the role of Brennan. Fichtner has been a staple in genre films and television for years and he always brings his A game to any role that he plays. He’s not in the film for long but he makes his presence felt. Sylvia Hoeks has a quiet, caged tiger demeanor about her and she sells the fact that her character of Leigh who has an hidden agenda. Akinnagbe brings arrogance and confidence to his role of Samuels and he gets to enjoy many heated scenes of conflict with Gibson as the two don’t get along at first. In the bad guy department, Jospeh Milson hits a home run as Deighton, the former friend of Collins who is now on the wrong side of the law. Milson’s Deighton is all about the money now and he will double-cross or kill anyone that gets in his way. As the main antagonist McKay, Elliot Cowan doesn’t really have a lot to do throughout the film but he does serve up some juicy dramatic scenes on his way to his explosive end.

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With a running time of one hour and forty one minutes, the film is not too long and not too short but there isn’t a whole lot of time for backstory on the characters. Through casual conversations, you get some info like Collins having a wife who just gave birth to a child he has never seen and Leigh having a past with McKay who supposedly murdered her father some years ago. We also get a little info on Fichtner’s Brennan as he constantly reminds us that he has to continue to take down bad guys so he can pay alimony to his three ex-wives. The film is dark and cruel and none of the characters are especially likable but that is OK in a film like this because they are not supposed to be. You do feel a little for Collins however and I found myself rooting for the anti-hero from the get go.

ALL THE DEVIL’S MEN is all about the action and in that department it delivers in spades. From a thrilling opening where Collins caries off an assassination that goes slightly awry to the thrilling finale at a hanger at an airport, Hope keeps the film running with just enough talking moments in between the bullet riddled mayhem that covers London. A great amount of ammunition is spent by all and there is a thrilling hand to hand knight fight at the end that made me rewind it instantly. The violence is never over the top but you get a decent amount of head shots and grisly demises. The choreography of each firefight is realistic and brutal with John Street serving as military technical adviser and stunt choreographer. The actors look good in the action and carry off the military trained aspect well. Gibson, Akinnagbe and Milson especially look good as they have the most action in the film. It’s never dull and even though it isn’t light hearted, the action delivers and delivers with the force of a moving semi. One particular stand out scene has Collins getting ambushed and taking out a hit team while getting out of his car in spectacular fashion. 

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To sum it all up, ALL THE DEVIL’S MEN won’t win any awards but it sure is one hell of an adrenaline fueled good time. The action comes fast and furious and Milo Gibson is rock solid in his first lead role in a movie. With this movie, the Gibson action legacy is in good hands and even though Mel is still kicking ass these days, his son is more than willing to carry on the tradition. Filling his dad’s shoes is an overwhelming job, but he is more than up to the task and I cannot wait to see him in another action vehicle. ALL THE DEVIL’S MEN is a pure bullet riddled, stone cold black ops adrenaline rush from start to finish with a new action hero in Milo Gibson. Dad should be proud. 

VERDICT: ACTION-FLIX APPROVED!

ALL THE DEVIL’S MEN is Now Available On Blu-Ray and DVD and is Streaming On Netflix


Official Trailer

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