By: John M Jerva
The one good thing about doing this site is the fact that I can champion for underrated action stars who certainly need more love from fans in the genre. There’s a great deal of talent that have been quietly kicking ass for some years that just don’t get the level of recognition they deserve and it’s high time we shine the spotlight on them for the great work they’ve been doing.
One such actor is Paul Sloan who has been in some truly fine indie action product like Choker (AKA Disturbance), Stilleto, Vigilante Diaries and one of my personal favorites Night Crew. Sloan has done much more than just action but it’s these types of films that he certainly excels in and always brings a level of intensity, brute force and bravado that is desperately needed in action cinema. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the man can also act and bring it in the more dramatic scenes besides the high-octane entertainment aspect of the film.
With that, I give you Sloan’s newest offering in the form of the newly released body count infused action-thriller Every Last One of Them. Even the title suggests that Sloan is going to “get some” and boy does he in brutal and bloody fashion. This might be one of my favorite titles for an action movie and talking to Sloan for my exclusive interview, it’s a pretty simple story on how it can’t about.
From director Christian Sesma, who has worked with Sloan many times and has brought us other action films like Paydirt with Val Kilmer and the aforementioned Vigilante Diaries and Night Crew, Every Last One of Them once again stars Sloan as Jake Hunter who is a desperate man looking for his daughter who has disappeared. Hunter is more than that though as he is a former special forces soldier who has made it his life to perfect the art of killing and he’s one of the best. Unfortunately, Hunter is weary of this life and he has regrets about not being there more for his family and especially his daughter Melissa played by Claire Kniaz.
Melissa has succumbed to some very bad habits and is definitely hanging out with the wrong crowd and when she turns up missing, this leads Jake on a very personal mission to find her. His search leads him to a town that is basically owned by brother/sister duo Ben Nichols (Jake Weber) and Maggie (Taryn Manning) who are on the cusp of brokering a very lucrative deal that will make them even more wealthier. Let’s not forget Ben’s slimy son Bobby who was going out with Melissa. He’s a privileged little weasel that doesn’t care about women in general. They have a majority of the police force in their pocket as well and they believe that they are above the law.
Ben, Maggie and Ben’s son Bobby know what happened to Melissa and Jake is going to find the truth even if he has to unload a lot of ammunition.
When Jake confronts this less than wholesome family, it leads to disastrous results and Bobby unleashes his small, private army on Hunter and what ensues is a battle royal where the hunted is going to turn the tables on the hunters and bodies will drop amidst a constant surge of automatic weapons fire because Jake won’t stop until he has taken down Every Last One of Them.
Indie action cinema has really been spearheading the charge to bring the genre back to the good old days when movies with firepower and bravado ruled the cinemas and video stores. Big Hollywood CGI blockbusters have all but squashed these types of films when it comes to theatrical releases but fortunately for fans, smaller films with a smaller budget but a whole lot of passion have been filling the void and the need for violent escapist entertainment.
Every Last One of Them is another unapologetic action-thriller that knows what kind of movie it is and who it’s target audience is and even though the budget doesn’t equal that of a Marvel movie, it still goes full throttle with a simple plot and action sequences that are fast paced with practical stunt work and endless streams of muzzle flashes. This is their type of meat and potatoes action flick that ruled the day and made no excuses to anybody.
Sloan is perfectly cast as ex-spec ops soldier Jake Hunter and he has the brooding presence and skill set to bring the pain when the the time comes to blow countless bad guys away. Sloan also brings a level of sadness to the role and his eyes speak volumes to the amount of pain he’s going through. Sure he’s a one man wrecking crew but he’s hurting and he needs to make it stop even if it means killing everyone involved with what happened to his daughter.
The supporting cast is fine as well with Jake Weber and Taryn Manning bringing just the right amount of sleaze and no care attitude to their roles. They are truly snakes hiding in plain site and they don’t care who they have to step on to get what they want. They have the money and the resources to cover up anything and go about as business as usual.
Hollywood icon Richard Dreyfuss is solid as usual in the role of Jake’s former mentor and boss Murphy and Dreyfuss is always a class act in any film that he does. Whether it’s the classic Jaws or a smaller role like this, Dreyfuss comes ready to play and makes the amount of screen time he has worth every minute. Plus it’s always a bonus to see the 73 year old Oscar winner blasting away with a large assault rifle.
Veteran actor Michael Madsen also appears as one of Jake’s oldest comrades. His scenes are told from a flashback perspective that gives a little more depth into Jake and Melissa’s disjointed relationship. Madsen is another actor that is usually solid and here he’s more of an extended cameo but it adds layers to the plot.
Make no mistake, this isn’t a happy film and from the get go, viewers know that the ending will be one that’s realistic and when the smoke clears, there won’t be any winners but just survivors. Films like this have a niche audience but for those of us that enjoy a good, brooding, bruising action pic, this one checks all the boxes.
The action takes a little bit to get going but when it does, Sesma puts his foot on the gas and doesn’t let up until the final credits roll. Sloan basically turns into a one man army and literally runs a gauntlet of killers to get his blood soaked vengeance. All the dramatics and initial altercations lead up to the final showdown as Hunter assaults the town’s city hall and takes on an army of mercs with only his rifle and sheer determination. It’s a harrowing firefight with the night sky filled with tracer fire that punctuates the sequence with some stunning visuals. Hunter is good at his job but he’s human and he does bleed which makes it all the more thrilling.
Overall, Every Last One of Them is a film that is equal parts action film and revenge thriller with a dash of mystery thrown in and Paul Sloan proves once again that he’s got what it takes to be a leading man. Sloan adds a level of depth to his role of Jake Hunter and showcases what happens to men who lead this sort of no win lifestyle. It’s sad but realistic and unfortunately life doesn’t end up the way we want it to.
Sesma paints the portrait of a soldier who has given his life to do the dirty deeds that must be done but no one wants to admit needs to be done. As a result, he’s lost out on his family and a chance to lead a normal life because of the beast that he’s become. There’s enough action and gunplay to satisfy the masses but at the same time, there’s a strong underlying message that is important to listen to when all is said and done.
Every Last One of Them is a bruising action film that shows off the worst in people and is a gripping thriller that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the bullet riddled finale where vengeance comes at the ultimate price.