By: Anthony Francis
Action, mystery, and suspense. What more could you want from a film? While it may be low budget and not as great as it could be, “Last Three Days” is a decent little “B” grade film that exists to entertain. The film does just that (pretty much) for its short running time.
Writer/director Brian Ulrich’s feature debut tells the tale of undercover policeman Jack (a rather bland Robert Palmer Watkins) who is tirelessly trying to bring down a vicious crime syndicate.
Jack’s partner Dave (a solid Thomas Wilson Brown) is more of a wild man cop, the kind of relentless rule-breaker who will stop at nothing to get his man. The two men do what it takes to get to the heart of the syndicate and bust it wide open. Or does Dave have other, more sinister, ideas?
One morning, Jack wakes up to a real-time nightmare, as his partner is next to him dead and wife Beth (Deborah Lee Smith) has gone missing and Jack can remember absolutely nothing about the last three days of his life.
Covered in blood, Jack becomes a suspect and goes on the run.
As the film unfolds, Jack begins experiencing displaced time shifts due to being injected with a new designer drug called “reaver”, which disorients its user but just may offer Jack an opportunity to get to the truth.
Despite this plot point, the film is not a straightforward Science Fiction film. The drug (and its effects on the user) is the only outlandish plot point in Ulrich’s screenplay.
Sadly, the “lost time/memory” narrative is well-worn and over-used, and it fails to hold any new surprises in this film.
Chris Haggerty’s cinematography rises above the film’s budget limitations. The cameraman gives the film a sharp and shadowy look, bathing it in a slick sheen that adds to the street-cop-thriller aura and tips its hat to the visual stylings of Michael Mann. There are more than a few nods to the works of Mann that show the master filmmaker’s influence on Brian Ulrich’s directing style.
The action scenes are well done. Director Ulrich fills his film with gunfights and lots of them. Shootouts spill onto the streets and bullets are waiting for Jack around every corner. Guns are ablaze in many scenes and Ulrich makes the most of these moments.
The film truly falters in the screenplay, which is littered with an inherent silliness.
There is an opening montage of Jack and Beth “in love” that is shot so full of sunshine and slow motion that it plays like a Claritin ad and induces unintentional laughter. It is a misplaced moment and badly designed.
There is also a strange and quite unnecessary link to the literary works of C.S. Lewis that does not work at all.
Except for Thomas Wilson Brown’s committed portrayal of Dave, the cast fails to bring anything special as far as the performances go.
What does work is the action and the film’s pacing.
Ulrich keeps things moving, never allowing his audience to become bored. His action scenes pop and are infused with an intensity that proves the director can handle these types of moments. Perhaps there is a better screenplay and bigger film in Ulrich’s future.
While clunky in its screenplay and performances, “Last Three Days” is a decent little Action Film that will give fans of the genre a good enough thrill for a one-time watch.