From an early Sam Elliott film last week (LIFEGUARD) to a much more recent one this week. AVENGER is a made-for-cable adaptation of a Frederick Forsyth novel I haven’t read (which would apply to all of Frederick Forsyth’s novels, come to think of it). I don’t think it made much of a splash when it aired several years ago. But I caught up with it on DVD and found it to be a pretty good movie.
Elliott plays a retired intelligence agent named Dexter who has gone into business for himself as a lawyer, but he has a sideline as sort of an international PI/soldier of fortune. In AVENGER, which really plays like it ought to be part of a series, he’s hired by a wealthy businessman with a lot of political influence to find out what happened to the man’s son, who disappeared while volunteering with an aid mission to Bosnia. Dexter’s search puts him on the trail of a Serbian war criminal who has fled Europe but still has some dangerous friends in high places.
There’s surprisingly little action in this film. It’s more of a low-key yarn that strives for suspense rather than thrills. Elliott, looking craggier than ever, does a fine job when trouble does break out, though. He has an effective way of delivering the sort of menacing throwaway lines that all action movie heroes have to deliver here and there. The ending could have used a little more blood-and-thunder, as far as I’m concerned, but that doesn’t detract too much from the overall film. If you’re a fan of Elliott and/or international intrigue, AVENGER is worth watching.
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