John Wick meets The Raid!! Message Man gives us some ultra-violent action when a hitman comes out of retirement to take down a gang of nasty pirates
Ok, so we have heard a similar plot in nearly every hitman movie out there: a retired badass has given up the life of murder-for-money and now lives a quiet and peaceful existence away from all the bloodshed.
Now, what does Message Man offer us?
Well, for start it is beautifully shot with wonderful cinematography and is set on a small island just off Indonesia. It is so damn pretty to look at. I would like to say that the action is up there with The Raid movies…and it is…nearly!. I think I could easily compare this to Evans’ pre-Raid movie Merantau Warrior in looks, style, action and budget.
Our main badass hitman is called Ryan Teller (Paul O’Brien), a quiet guy who now lives on a boat and keeps himself to himself. He then meets a young kid called Doni and Ryan gives him some work carrying groceries etc. But what Ryan doesn’t know is that there’s a tonne of Indonesian pirates who come to the island every few months to steal money, jewellery and kidnap all the young women for their own twisted sexual pleasure. Obviously, Ryan gets caught up in the action and is left with no choice but to bring himself out of retirement to take on the Indonesian pirate threat.
I do have to admit that I was a little let down when our hero noticed a dead rooster that belonged to his new buddy, Doni. I was praying “please, Lord, let this man snap and start killing people because of a fallen rooster”. Sadly, nope…he wants to save humans. Someday the roosters will get their vengence though…someday!!
Look, I am sorry…the people who gave this movie poor reviews are just wrong. This is not a big-budget Hollywood movie, it’s B-Grade with A+ action and violence that just oozes potential with every shot. At the start, I wasn’t sure of the lead. This just comes down to my love for Indonesian action films. There’s not a chance that this big muscly dude is going to kick the shite out of a load of Indonesians – we have seen what they can do and they kick serious ass.
As the film went on I really grew to like the lead character. Yeah, we won’t be seeing any Oscars handed out but that role requires a more physical performance and O’Brien certainly held his own. I mean, let’s take our most famous recent hitman John Wick (sorry, Leon). Is Keanu known for his acting? no, he isn’t but by God, he sure makes an excellent action movie star. This is exactly what we have with Paul O’Brien in Message Man.
Corey Pearson’s directorial and writing debut. There’s nothing but greatness to say about his achievement. With a little more money and backing, I would safely say we have our next Gareth Evans in the making.
Released in 2018, I am a little pissed at myself I am only hearing about this now. I am hoping this review will make people want to check out Message Man and give it a new lease of life.
As always, thanks for reading.
Review by GG
Founder/Owner/BigCheese @ Moviehooker