(Original Publication Date: December 10th, 2016) By: John M Jerva

REVIEW: SPECTRAL

Starring: James Badge Dale, Max Martini, Emily Mortimer, Bruce Greenwood, and Clayne Crawford

What’s It About: The European country of Moldova…Present Day. The country has been decimated by civil war and America has sent its elite Delta Force to help restore the region and try to protect its civilians from a regime that is trying to take over. One one night, a lone Delta operative gets cut off from his unit. Trying to reconnect with his team he enters a old, abandon building for safety. There he sees a disturbance with his special goggles and before he has time to react, the apparition attacks and kills him instantly. Not knowing what they are dealing with, the military calls in brilliant DARPA. scientist and engineer Clyne (Dale) to help figure out what the threat is and how to stop it. Together with an elite Delta Force unit led by Captain Sessions (Martini) and a C.I.A. operative (Mortimer) they must venture behind enemy lines to access the unknown enemy and figure out a way to stop them. Once they encounter the unseen force, Clyne and the spec-ops warriors quickly figure out that they are in over their heads and must now figure out a way to escape the city and save the world at the same time.

The Review: Spectral was a film that was originally going to be released in theaters from Universal Pictures but they pulled the film from their schedule and Netflix swooped in and picked it up. It’s possible that the company thought that the film was not gong to make money and decided to wash their hands of it. It’s a shame really, because Spectral is a rousing sci-fi action film that is tense and just a little scary at the same time. It’s loaded with awesome action set pieces and while the cast aren’t necessarily A-list celebrities, they do a great job and bring us one of the best action films of the season. 

You can tell that they spent some money on the film because it is loaded with some really good special effects and well executed action choreography. Don’t be fooled because this movie didn’t make it to the cinema, it should have and probably would have been excellent to watch in 3D on the big screen. The movie does take a little time to get going but the first part of the film builds the tension until all hell finally breaks loose and when it does, look out! The film gives the audience a real sense of fear and uncertainty because you really don’t know how they are going to win in the end. The spectral apparitions are a force to be reckon with. They come out of nowhere and kill you before you can even blink. One has to ask yourself how do you fight something that you can’t see and it doesn’t help that the best weaponry money can buy has no effect on them. There is a sense of dispair that you can see on the characters’ faces because they really don’t know what to do. The first contact with the enemy is just like the scene in Aliens when the Colonial Marines come face to face with the xenomorphs for the first time. The soldiers are totally taken by surprise and they get their asses handed to them.

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Like I said earlier, the cast is great in the film. James Badge Dale and Max Martini, who also both starred in this year’s excellent 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi are terrific here too. Dale, who played a former Navy SEAL in 13 Hours, does a 180 and plays a man who is not trained in combat. He does his fighting with his mind and is pretty much responsible for figuring out how to defeat the threat. If he isn’t there, then we areall pretty much screwed. Martini does what he does best. He plays the military role to a T. Martini has made a great career out of playing these kinds of characters like in the TV show The Unit and 13 hours and here he’s just as good as Sessions the leader of these elite group of men. Bruce Greenwood has a smaller role as General Orland. He is a great character actor who shines in all the dramatic scenes that he is in. Emily Mortimer is good also as the C.I.A. analyst Fran Madison. She is literally the only woman in the film besides a little girl and she holds her own. Clayne Crawford (TV’s Lethal Weapon reboot) is great too as Sgt. Toll one of the Delta members. He always plays the tough guy well but here he also shows a certain sense of vulnerability to go with the bad ass.

SpectralGrenades

I mentioned that Spectral takes a little time to get to the action but it is well worth the wait. From the first big set piece when they engage the apparitions for the first time to the final all-out assault at the end, the action is tense, fast and frenetic. The scenes are shot terrifically too. Even when there is a lot going on, you can see the action. So many film s that do make it to the big screen suffer in this department and go by the way of the shaky cam. It’s nice to see that a film that has a little bit of a budget can still pull off the action. The weapons that the soldiers use at the end are pretty awesome. They look like something out of a space sci-fi film and really look great on film. This film definitely has a Black Hawk Down meets Aliens feel to it. I did read some people’s criticisms that the movie wasn’t violent enough. Now I’m one that enjoys a good violent action movie but I don’t have to always see blood and body parts flying to enjoy the action. An action movie can be rated PG-13 and still kick a lot of ass. 

The one main issue I did have with the movie is that they seemed to figure out how to beat the spectrals pretty quick and the source of where they came from was a little far fetched. This is a spoiler free review so you are just going to have to watch it and decide for yourself. That flaw did not ruin my enjoyment of the movie however. There’s a time limit to films and if you want closure, well sometimes you are going to have to cut corners to get to the end. I would like to see a TV show like this where it’s drawn out a little more and there is more reasoning behind it. 

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All in all, Spectrals is great entertainment for a Saturday night and you don’t have to shell out big bucks for a movie ticket either. All you need is the internet and Netflix and you are set. It’s a great mix of sci-fi, horror and military action. The action scenes are tense and exciting and the cast does a great job with the material. If you’re like me and you love these kinds of films then you will want to watch it more than once. It’s not going to win any Academy Awards but then again it doesn’t have to. It’s one hour and forty eight minutes of great entertainment and if you ask me, that’s better than winning an award any day!

Verdict: 4 Out Of 5 Stars

ACTION-FLIX APPROVED!

Spectral is now available to stream on Netflix.

Official Trailer

About The Author: John M Jerva is the owner and editor-in-chief of Action-Flix.com and is a DIE HARD fan of everyhting Action! From the glorious past to the thrilling future, John lives and breathes action!

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