By Alex Purnell. Drug money, murder and cornfields, director Christian Sparkes takes us on a foreboding action ride, unfortunately, the track is plagued with a questionable plot and poorly written characters.
When a drug deal goes awry after one side of the party attempts to rob the other of their money, shots are fired, and as young Chris (Mark O’Brien) flees the scene with the money and accomplice Lori (Dayle McLeod) in tow, they find out that Lori has a fatal gunshot wound. After hiding the money and Lori bleeding out in a cornfield, Chris frantically drives off, only to be seen and followed by his father. Adams (Ben Cotton), the individual that Chris had ripped off, though, furiously attempts to get revenge on Chris, despite being wounded himself. Chris’s father, Stephen (Will Patton) agrees to help his son get out of the mess, but the two get embroiled in a bloody quest to evade Adams, grab the money and find Lori’s body, dead or alive.
Hammer is primarily about family and the traits you inherit from your parents, whether good or bad. After Chris’s family found out about his involvement within the drug trade, his mother and father distanced themselves from their son. Despite this, after Stephen agrees to help solve his son’s current affair, he himself starts to show his dark side, emanating aggressive characteristics, questioning his past, and theorising whether or not he had directly influenced his son to turn out the way he did. This consequently causes the audience to query his past and how he might have impacted his son’s upbringing.
The largest issue with Hammer is its dull characters, their flip-flop values and their horrifically questionable priorities. There’s a complete lack of consequence and little to no development of any character, apart from Stephens increasingly aggressive behaviour. Because of this, the characters aren’t particularly pleasant or agreeable, causing a rather frustrating viewing experience.
Despite this, Hammer has its moments. I did enjoy the few action sequences the film provides, and I particularly enjoyed the pawnshop scene, which felt real, raw and refreshing from the rest of the film. The scene also greatly improved the dynamic between the father and son, something that Hammer desperately needed more of. In addition to this, I am a sucker for cornfield scenes, a strange cliche I have found myself loving, from Interstellar to Children of the Corn, it adds a maze-like dimension, causing the characters to rely solely on their sense of hearing and luck to find what they are looking for.
In short, Hammer is a relatively intriguing action film but doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Its inability to create any tension due to a lack of consequence is its biggest downfall, although it is somewhat gripping and has some well-executed action sequences that keep you watching throughout.
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