Thomas Jane is quick on the draw and slow on the drawl in this fish out of water buddy cop action flick.
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If you like me are a purveyor of direct-to-video action movies then you should have some familiarity with the works of stuntman-turned-director Jesse V. Johnson. The dude’s directed a good deal of my guy Scott Adkins’ filmography (“Savage Dog,” “Accident Man,” “The Debt Collector” pictures, “Triple Threat” and “Avengement” among them). Johnson’s latest offering is the Thomas Jane-fronted fish out of water buddy cop action flick “One Ranger” (in select theaters and on VOD beginning Friday, May 5).
Jane stars as Texas Ranger Alex Tyree. Tyree’s the hard-hitting, sharp-shooting sort who always gets his man … marriage be damned. The divorcee is the first law enforcement officer to come across Irish Republican Army terrorist Declan McBride (Dean Jagger) and survive. Unfortunately, Tyree’s partner Ranger Daniels (Gary Cairns) wasn’t so lucky.
McBride hops back across the pond back to London with Tyree in hot pursuit. Surprisingly, British Intelligence is open to Tyree teaming with Agent Darby (Dominique Tipper) to take down McBride before he can commit a bombing on British soil.
“One Ranger” isn’t a good movie, but it’s often a fun one. Much of my enjoyment stemmed from Jane’s game performance and Johnson’s grasp of action filmmaking. Fans of the Syfy/Amazon series “The Expanse” will likely enjoy the reunion between Jane and Tipper as they still have solid chemistry.
Jane’s an actor I’ve always dug in films such as “Boogie Nights,” “Deep Blue Sea,” “61*” and “The Mist.” His take on Tyree reminded me a lot of the work Jeff Bridges was doing after he won a Best Actor Oscar for “Crazy Heart” in movies such as “True Grit” (2010) and “R.I.P.D.” He’s quick on the draw and slow on the drawl. Jane’s Tyree also gets to engage in a prolonged fight scene against McBride’s lackey Oleg Jakovenko (Jess Liaudin) that knowingly calls to mind a similar scene between he and Kevin Nash’s The Russian from “The Punisher” (2004).
Not every aspect of “One Ranger” is as successful as Jane’s acting and Johnson’s action. John Malkovich, serving as executive producer alongside Jane and an army of other folks, turns up as Darby’s boss. He employs an odd accent, but it sure as shit ain’t a British one. The character mostly exists for exposition dumps and gimme your gun and badge clichés. Malkovich is a brilliant actor who’s been good-bad before (his hammy turns in “Con Air” and “Rounders” spring to mind). Jane is good-bad here. Malkovich, sadly, is just bad-bad.
Tyree’s motivation in Johnson’s script could also use some punching up. Jane delivers a monologue about how he promised Ranger Daniels’ wife to protect him on their wedding day and refers to the fallen officer as his best friend. The only time we spend with Daniels is when he’s dispatched by McBride. Show us! Don’t tell us! I might’ve had more emotional investment if I’d gotten to know this dude in the slightest.
If you’ve seen fish out of water buddy cop action flicks such as Walter Hill’s “Red Heat” or Brett Ratner’s “Rush Hour” you should know what to expect out of “One Ranger.” It’s kinda plain and more of the same. Come for the action. Stay for Jane.