Stuck in jail after his partners – including his brother Sam (Todd Farmer) and his wife Darling (Robin Sydney) - shot him and left him behind in a heist turned bloodbath, formerly mild-mannered John Falcon (Nick Principe) has developed a new outlook on life, expressed through the rather minimalist philosophical maxim of “You owe. You pay.”.
When he’s released after ten years for good behaviour, John decides quite a
few people owe him some dying, so off he goes in his canary yellow muscle car
and kills them all, while occasional flashbacks needlessly detail a backstory as
obvious as the film’s “twist”.
I’m still not quite sure if I should love how single-mindedly Ravi Dhar’s
American Muscle keeps to every single cliché of the 2010’s style low
budget desert-set US vengeance movie to become a delivery machine for violence,
tits and ass, or if I should be annoyed by it. I am pretty sure I’m not terribly
fond of the film, particularly since its brand of single-mindedness gets in the
way of any kind of ambiguity and makes it pretty difficult to keep up much
interest in the fate of its beefcake skinhead asshole hero. I know, he’s
supposed to be all sensitive at his core, but this is not the kind of film that
ever shows its hero doubting what he does, so that sensitivity is something the
film may owe but certainly never pays.
It’s certainly pretty to look at, well edited, and there’s little to complain
about when it comes to the action but I mostly found myself appreciating it all
as technical achievements where a movie like this should really produce a little
adrenaline rush. I just don’t find the film very fun at all, while on the other
hand it is too superficial to be not fun in a worthwhile way.