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Movie Review

Release Date: 05/03/22
Genre: Action

Studio: Redbox Entertainment


"A group of officers based in a labyrinthine top-secret must fight for their lives against Hatchet, a brilliant and infamous high-value detainee. When he escapes, his mysterious and deadly agenda has far-reaching and dire consequences."


It wasn’t too long into Sophia Banks’ Black Site that it became all too evident that this was going to be a film running on violent testosterone, overly expressed exposition, and the type of void-of-subtlety dialogue that ran rampant throughout the 90’s structured actioners.

Now, I have nothing against a ridiculous action flick, and the cast on hand here certainly suggested I’d be in somewhat capable hands – Michelle Monaghan, Jason Clarke and Jai Courtney, for starters – but in taking out any of the fun of the proceedings, Black Site ends up a black hole of stereotypical nonsense that can’t even muster emotional investment or intentionally humorous additives to keep its audience on hand.

Monaghan – an actress who more than deserves to headline her own feature – isn’t entirely unable to overcome John Collee and Jinder Ho’s eye-rolling script as Abigail Trent, a CIA agent managing an underground black site facility that imprisons dangerous and high-risk detainees.  It’s the type of impeccably built structure (albeit on a clear slim budget) you’d expect to see in countless WB programs and, through forced interaction, it’s a familial haven for the widowed Abigail.

Days before she’s reassigned to a new post (because, why wouldn’t she be?) she gets wind that notorious criminal Hatchet (Jason Clarke) is being transferred to the facility, and given that he’s responsible for the death of her husband, she’s intent on exacting revenge.  A valid thought, but a highly illegal response, and, naturally, she’s stood down and told that the accompanying Special Ops (led by Young Rock attraction Uli Latukefu) will handle his briefing.

It isn’t long before blood is spilled (and how!) and Hatchet is roaming free in the vicinity, gruesomely offing anyone that obstructs his path.  Of course, this just gives Abigail license to take him out, but learning that there’s also a mole in her facility means she’s unable to lay her trust in any of the remaining men standing who, similarly, want to take Hatchet out.

Whilst I admit that there was a duo of particular death sequences that tickled the sadistic bone in my body as a blood-appreciative viewer, and this film being filmed in Australia with a slew of local talent means I had fun noting their accent work, Black Site hardly registered as a watch worthy of a viewer’s time.

Monaghan, though deserving better, does the best she can, Clarke can do the villain bit in his sleep at this point, and Jai Courtney knowing how to ham it up accordingly means Banks’ film has a few minor suitabilities beyond some bloody showdowns – there’s one sequence involving a stray glass shard from an oven that’s nicely wince-inducing – and a slew of laughable green screen efforts that, had Black Site awarely embraced, could have resulted in something pleasurable as opposed to the pablum effort it ultimately is.

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