The Best Man
"Die Hard" rip-off offers dumb fun, expert "drunk acting," little else.
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“The Best Man” (available in select theaters and on VOD beginning Friday, April 21) isn’t a reboot or continuation of Malcolm D. Lee’s African-American romantic dramedy franchise (this was actually recently done with the Peacock limited series “The Best Man: The Final Chapters”), but rather a hokily entertaining “Die Hard” retread.
Cal (Luke Wilson), his widowed cousin Bradley (Brendan Fehr) and their buddies Anders (Dolph Lundgren) and Axel (Scott Martin) are mercenaries who have been hired by the wealthy Chuck (Chris Mullinax) to rescue his kidnapped daughter Brook (Nicky Whelan). The men retrieve their target, but not without sustaining a loss in the form of Axel.
We flash forward one year: Cal and Brook are about to be married at a remote resort, but their nuptials are rudely interrupted by a group of money-hungry terrorists. Titular best man Bradley strives to protect Brook’s younger sister Hailey (Scout Taylor-Compton) at whom he was making eyes before all hell broke loose.
“The Best Man” as directed by Shane Dax Taylor (he last helmed the 2021 Bella Thorne home invasion vehicle “Masquerade” and previously co-wrote and co-produced the Scott Adkins action flick “Close Range”) and scripted by Taylor and C. Alec Rossel from a story by producer Daniel Zirilli (whose film “Renegades” I reviewed late last year here – I also interviewed him here) is a “Die Hard” rip-off that qualitatively veers far away from the likes of “Under Siege” and “Speed” and hews much closer to Anna Nicole Smith’s “Skyscraper” or Lundgren’s “Command Performance.”
The project mostly seems like an excuse for the actors and filmmakers to drink, gamble and hang out at a New Mexico Native American casino and resort (specifically, the Apache Tribe’s Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero, N.M.). The bloodletting is achieved through garish, unconvincing CG. The dialogue is stilted. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel (roulette or otherwise), but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t somewhat entertained.
Most of this entertainment was derived from the picture’s game cast. Wilson’s a long ways away from Richie Tenenbaum and seems to have entered the direct-to-Redbox purgatory stage of his career between this and last year’s Bruce Willis collaboration “Gasoline Alley,” but he’s still a welcome presence. Fehr, probably best remembered for the WB/UPN late 1990s/early aughts sci-fi series “Roswell,” is the film’s lead and functions well enough within that role. Whelan and Taylor-Compton are fine and foine playing damsels in distress. Lundgren’s Anders busies himself by shooting shots (both booze and with the ladies) and shooting baddies. Speaking of boozing, the flick’s perfomative MVP has got to be Mullinax. The actor’s appearance and the character’s actions are reminiscent of (in)famous professional golfer/my own personal spirit animal, one Mr. John Daly. He’s a hoot and a half. This is some of the best and funniest “drunk acting” I’ve seen in a hot minute.
“The Best Man” isn’t a good movie, but it’s a dumbly fun one. While it’s comparing apples to oranges, Lee’s aforementioned 1999 romantic dramedy is easily the better film with this title. Do with this information what you will.