With the help of a local woman looking to save her people, a group of Navy SEALS goes on the search for Nazi gold that was lost near their location decades ago and could do so much to help the small town they are near.
Directed by Steven Quale and written by Richard Wenk and Luc Besson, American Renegades is a serviceable action film with some great parts throughout and some serious head-scratchers here and there. Once one manages to suspend disbelief for some of the more nonsensical stuff, the film can be fun to watch. The film takes a few usual story tropes for action films and uses them really well. That being said, some of the film is predictable but not in a way that causes the film to be too boring or unenjoyably so, the film is one more not so bright action film, but it’s entertaining and that counts for a ton when so many action films made on smaller budgets that are just painful to watch. This one is fun and that’s what really matters in the end here.
The case is filled with semi-recognizable faces and unknown faces, except for the always great J.K Simmons who plays Levin, the military high rank man who’s kept in the dark by his men who are pulling a sort of heist to get the gold and do so in no time at all. Simmons is the best here no matter his lower number of scenes or his lesser number of minutes on screen. Yes, he kind of gives a performance that’s been seen from him before, but it’s enjoyable and the film is not 100% serious about itself, so it work and it’s for the best. The other men in the cast are decent actor with Sullivan Stapleton and Charley Bewley gives some of the most eye-catching performances of the film. As the sole female character of the main part of the story, Sylvia Hoeks does well holding her own against the full male cast. She good and she knows what she is doing. The cast works well as a group and a few of the smaller parts are played by people who some will recognize and enjoy seeing.
The film in and of itself looks good with cinematography by Brian Pearson which, paired with Florent Vassault’s editing, allows the viewer to see the action and enjoy what is going on on the screen without getting a headache trying to see everything. The one top thing that film fans will notice and enjoy is the score which, while not perfect, has some great parts that bring up memories of The Big Blue and other Besson films. There is an easy to explain reason for this as the score is by long time composer of Besson films Eric Serra. His recognizable style pokes through here and there, in the underwater scenes in particular, and his work is fun to listen to, particularly for fans and when it hits his usual moody, relaxing style.
American Renegades is an entertaining, fun in spots, actioner that brings a few really good sequences to the table and makes its runtime feel a lot shorter than it actually is. There are tropes and a few other things that are expected and occasionally annoying but overall, the film is enjoyable. The score is a highlight of the film in quite a few scenes with J.K. Simmons adding some serious fun to the proceedings.