Mason Stone has big plans for this evening out with his lady. Unfortunately, his past career has made him a target for a group of highly skilled killers who want him dead. Thankfully, he’s got better skills than they do.
Directed by Ben Whimpey and written by John Fallon, The Proposal is a short film that feels much bigger than just a short film, it feels like it’s something that could be, and should be, expended upon and made into a feature film. The story is one that sounds a bit familiar with a gun for hire being schedule for elimination, with a twist that he’s about to make a life changing move that they folks are keeping him from doing, thus giving more than just his own survival to fight for. While this is all something that may have been done before, it’s done really well here. In fact, it’s done better than a lot of films in that genre that have come out in recent years. The story is fairly simple, it’s a basic set up for fights and action sequences, but it works. The film, outside of the action, is kept fairly simple, establish the leads, throw in the twist, fight. What is well done here is that the characters feel like you might know them, they might be your friends, your neighbor, that couple you follow online, but also one of them happens to be a skilled killer.
Lead actor Marc Natoli, who also served as fight choreographer, is a fun one to watch kicking asses and taking names and here he does this so very well. The fights are great and his skills are on full display in a part more than likely written with him in mind. While his fighting is on point, his acting is good too and should not be ignored. Here he shows a bit of range in the non-fight scenes that pique the interest to see him in his upcoming parts. Playing his love interest is the lovely and talented Kahli Williams who gets a few less scenes but does quite well with what she gets. She’s a good counter-balance to Natoli’s part and style. Playing the bad guys, or at least the ones after Mason, are Christina McLachlan, Lincoln Barros, Paul Allica, Donk Wade Morley, Jakeson Otieno, and Bas Hosn who all play variations on villains, most of them getting their asses handed to them in one violent way or another. Each is a decent combat partner with McLachlan having the most lines and the most impact closer to the end.
The Proposal is shot and edited in a manner that many action films seem to forget, one that lets the action speak for itself and lets the viewer enjoy it. The cinematography by Juzzy Kane not only frames the action well, it also makes the best use of drone shots seen in a while. Here the drone shots establish scenes, follow over large territory, but do not take over the entire film. The drove is clearly a good choice for the sequences its used in without taking over the entire film and making yet another case of “Drone Shot: The Movie”. Here it’s used sparingly and lets the rest of the film be more on the old school side of things visually, something that works great. Helping this is the editing by Elizna van der Walt which allows scenes to be viewed without a million little cuts. In short, the film looks great and lets the story and the action be the center of attention.
The Proposal is a fun short action film that leaves you wanting more, wishing it were a feature, which hopefully will be in the cards in the future. The lead performance by Marc Natoli makes you want to see him on the screen more, a bit like when Scott Adkins first showed on in a random action film, there is an intensity in his work that grabs and keeps the attention. His voice over work at the start shows that he’s not just an action man and should have a few ladies swooning. The Proposal should be seen on a big screen if possible, something sometimes hard for short films, but if it comes nearby at a fest, do yourself a favor and check it out.