Review: SAVAGE Is An Old-School Thriller With Solid Visuals

FIRST IMPRESSION

Savage may be safely-written, but its big-budget production values make up for the story's deficiencies, making this a mostly entertaining, action-packed ride.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Savage is a new Chinese action-thriller film directed by Cui Siwei. It follows a policeman who, trapped at the top of a mountain under extreme weather conditions, is forced to shelter in place with a group of thieves, sending them all into a fight for survival. It debuted at the 2018 Busan International Film Festival.

The story of the movie is rather simple — a pretty average survive-the-night thriller. Two groups of people are trapped together and must face off against both each other and the cold that threatens to destroy them in a different way. The stakes are certainly high enough for the film to be suspenseful (they are fighting for their lives after all), and as such, the movie is somewhat effective at doing what it intends.

However, one of the biggest issues with the film is that it is not as clear or concise as it should be. The movie starts off with a big and grand set piece involving the robbers, only to cut away to a smaller-scale story involving the policeman that leads into the big confrontation on the mountain. This cutaway diverges from earlier and later scenes in terms of both tone and content, and as such, feels out-of-place.

Perhaps the reason that this section feels so out-of-place is that it is the only section of the film with significant character development. This part of the movie is why we see the policeman as the protagonist rather than seeing the thieves as anti-heroes. All of the characters except the policeman are entirely underdeveloped, having very little reason to like or sympathize with them.

savage cu

This middle section also stands out because of how jarring it is in terms of pacing. We cut from a high-intensity action scene to a man singing. The film doesn’t really pick up again for at least thirty more minutes, and as such, it is easy to be drawn out of the movie. As such, when it does get to the extended action-packed climax, you are to the point where you don’t really care about the story anymore.

Also of note is that this is very much an ensemble-driven film. There isn’t much room for any individual player to shine, as the movie is more about the actors working together and building off of each other. The ensemble is definitely impressive, featuring some of the most popular actors and actresses that will be known to any fan of Chinese cinema, like Fan Liao, Chen Chang, and Hua Liu, and they all do a solid job in their roles.

It is on a technical level that this film impresses most. This is a large-scale original action thriller, which feels old-school in a way because we don’t see many in America anymore because of the increasing demand for franchise movies. The cinematography is excellent, taking full advantage of the snowy scenery in which the film is set. Furthermore, there are some sudden bursts of brutal violence that are used quite effectively to build suspense.

Overall, Savage was a solidly-made but traditionally-written thriller. As a directorial debut for Cui, it shows a lot of promise, and will undoubtedly leave you looking forward to seeing what comes next from him.

Savage opens in theaters on May 3.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Books of Blood – Trailer (Official) • A Hulu Original Film

All stories end here. 📖 #BooksOfBlood premieres on October 7 only on Hulu. ABOUT BOOKS OF BLOOD Based on Clive Barker’s acclaimed and influential horror anthology book series, Books of Blood follows a journey into uncharted territory through three tales tangled in space and time. SUBSCRIBE TO HULU’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL Click the link to subscribe…

Truth Seekers – Official Trailer | Prime Video

About Truth Seekers: Truth Seekers is a supernatural comedy drama series featuring Nick Frost, Samson Kayo, Simon Pegg, and Emma D'Arcy. A group of part-time paranormal investigators team up to uncover a deadly conspiracy. About Prime Video: Want to watch it now? We've got it. This week's newest movies, last night's TV shows, classic favorites,…

What I Wish You Knew: About Being An Influencer | The Social Dilemma | Netflix

How do real influencers feel about the points made in the social media docu-drama The Social Dilemma? Aimee Song, Tess Holliday, Blair Imani, Deon Hinton get personal about their platforms, their struggles on social media, and their feelings about the culture surrounding the online phenomenon. Watch The Social Dilemma, On Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81021931 SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About…

Cadaver | Official Trailer | Netflix

In the aftermath of a nuclear disaster, a starving family find hope in a charismatic hotel owner. Lured by the prospect of a free dinner, they discover that the evening's entertainment blurs the lines between performance and reality. Will they wind up the spectators or the spectacle? SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's…

Patria: Official Trailer | HBO

Patria tells the story of two families divided by the violent conflict of the separatist terrorism of ETA over the Spanish Basque Country. After 3 decades of murder, terrorism, political fanaticism, will the community be able to forgive? The first two episodes of Patria will be available to stream on HBO Max September 27, with…

Drag Queens Trixie Mattel & Katya React to The Babysitter: Killer Queen | I Like to Watch | Netflix

Drag queens Trixie Mattel and Katya react to scenes from the Netflix film 'The Babysitter: Killer Queen', in this episode of "I Like to Watch". Watch The Babysitter: Killer Queen, Only on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81012366 SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 193 million paid memberships in over 190 countries…

The Undoing: Official Trailer | HBO

Dark deeds cannot be concealed. The Undoing begins October 25 on HBO and HBO Max. #HBO #TheUndoing Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Grace and Jonathan Fraser (Kidman and Hugh Grant) are living the only lives they ever wanted for themselves. Overnight a chasm opens in their lives: a violent death and a chain of…

Ratched Cast Reads A 1940’s Guide To Hiring Women | Netflix

Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon, Sharon Stone, and Judy Davis read from — and react to — a Guide To Hiring Women. Watch Ratched, Only on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80213445 SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 193 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here