Movie/review

Pursuit Review: A Pulp Actioner Loaded with Bloody Twists

A hacker’s (Emile Hirsch) search for his kidnapped wife endangers his drug lord father’s (John Cusack) business.

PURSUIT_06
Via: Lionsgate

Pursuit is a bloody and twisted pulp actioner with an insane body count. What begins as a New York City techno-thriller about a kidnapped wife turns into a drug cartel war in rural Arkansas. The film has a spectacularly convoluted plot but keeps the adrenaline pumping with gritty action scenes. The unsparing violence pivots wildly from absurd to awesome throughout the sleek runtime. I could easily pick apart its flaws but honestly had fun watching the carnage.

Emile Hirsch, rocking a scorpion face tattoo, stars as brilliant criminal hacker Rick Calloway. His estranged wife (Shelby Yardley) has been mysteriously taken. He receives videos of her gagged and brutalized. Rick uses his computer wizardry to track down a drug dealer he thinks is involved. He attacks during an undercover NYPD narcotics sting. Putting him on the radar of Mike Breslin (Jake Manley), a cop whose wife (Alexandria DeBerry) was murdered as payback.

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Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Rick’s father, John Calloway (John Cusack), watches over his grandson (Valor Hirsch). We learn that John is a powerful drug lord. He shares a criminal empire with another dangerous gangster, Frank Diego (Andrew Stevens). His son, John (Graham Patrick Martin), has been outed as a homosexual by Rick’s hacking. Frank Diego has had enough of Rick Calloway as a loose cannon. John swears to his partner that he can control his son. Rick believes that someone affiliated with his father’s cartel took his wife. He stirs a hornet’s nest of trouble by luring Mike Breslin to Arkansas.

Pursuit Gets Plenty of Style Points

Pursuit gets style points for the gunplay. Director Brian Skiba, a prolific B-movie filmmaker, uses slow motion to heighten the severity of bullet impacts. He brings the action to a standstill and then resumes at full speed as organs are shredded. The film is also loaded with fist and knife fights. Several had me laughing out loud as the blood didn’t look realistic. The humor turns quickly to gasps as characters get medieval on each other. Eyeballs and forks are a gruesome combination.

Pursuit has enough backstabbing and betrayals to rival a Mexican soap opera. John Cusack and Emile Hirsch take family problems to an extreme level. They are deadly players in a game where the cash flow reigns supreme. The film’s best tenet keeps you guessing where their allegiances lie. Rick is willing to burn everyone to find his wife. Can John sacrifice his son? Or does blood loyalty supplant millions in drug revenue? The answer is clear-cut and definitive.

Action junkies will definitely get a fix here. Pursuit holds no character sacred. The film surprises constantly with shocking deaths and torture. One scene in particular had me literally jumping out of my seat. I found the unpredictable nature of the narrative to be refreshing. It’s sensational as hell, overblown, and doesn’t hold up to scrutiny; but will keep your attention rapt.

Pursuit is a production of Andrew Stevens Entertainment, Cartouche, Grindstone Entertainment Group, and Milestone Studios. It will have a concurrent VOD and limited theatrical release on February 18th from Lionsgate.


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