Directed and written by newcomer Adam Alleca, Standoff is a gripping new thriller boasting two fantastic performances from Laurence Fishburne and Thomas Jane. A suspenseful tale of murder and redemption, a young girl’s life hangs in the balance of a lonely veteran after becoming a witness to a murder scene.
Burdened with what she’s witnessed, Bird (Ella Ballentine), is hunted by the merciless assassin known as Sade (Laurence Fishburne). Finding refuge in a secluded home, she’s protected by the skilled veteran Carter (Thomas Jane). Armed with just one shell, Carter’s conflict with Sade reaches an impasse in the confinements of his small home. Not willing to give up the girl, Carter attempts to find redemption by saving her.It doesn’t take long for Standoff to kick things into gear, as it immediately presents Sade as a thunderous presence. Recently known for his role in NBC’s Hannibal, Fishburne channels an altogether different type of character. Psychotic, cold and calculated, it’s completely new territory for the talented actor – and it’s an astounding performance too.
Thomas Jane’s Carter is also a man with his own set of dangerous skills. Dealing with his own personal demons, Carter utilises all of his past army training to stop Sade at all costs. Slightly reminiscent of his past portrayal of the Punisher, Thomas Jane’s role is a stark reminder that he is criminally underutilised in cinema today.
Having the film mostly take place in the isolated home allows room for some superb storytelling, which is aided by a paunchy script. Full of one-liners and great speeches throughout, Alleca’s script allows Fishburne to truly flourish as Sade. Arguably the highlight of the entire film, viewers may find themselves captivated with Sade’s ostentatious display, as his lethal practices and threats are downright despicable.
The story itself has a strong, tight focus with some decent plot developments, but ultimately Standoff’s final moments may leave viewers desiring a bit more. Wrapping up the plot quickly, the film has a strong build up, only to finish on just more than a whimper. Regarding the tense stalemate between both characters, the ending could’ve been a little more climactic.
Whether or not some may find Carter’s backstory a little forced remains to be seen, but it’s the driving force for the character and it works well enough. Ella Ballentine’s role as Bird also manages to be a commendable effort, never once failing to convince viewers of her turmoil.
Standoff is a wondrous display of two talented actors that need more recognition. Some scenes have some surprisingly decent composition too, which propels Standoff from being more than your typical b-movie fare. It has decent production values and is well paced, save for the disappointing ending.
Running at approximately an hour and a half, Adam Alleca’s Standoff is a strong entry. Having previously worked on the remake The Last House on the Left, Adam Alleca proves his worth with his directorial debut, as a filmmaker who is set to impress.
STANDOFF / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ADAM ALLECA / SCREENPLAY: ADAM ALLECA / STARRING: LAURENCE FISHBURNE, THOMAS JANE, ELLA BALLENTINE / RELEASE DATE: 11TH JANUARY