Generic Civil War Western

When is a television movie not a television movie? When it gets released direct to video with little fanfare. Director Michael Feifer has a long list of television projects under his belt, not to mention a sizable number of forgettable films. Handling writing and directing duties, Feifer’s A Soldier’s Revenge is a straight Western told in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Starring Neal Bledsoe, Rob Mayes, AnnaLynne McCord and a weird supporting appearance by Val Kilmer, A Soldier’s Revenge colors neatly inside the lines in a predictably dull script. Against his better judgment, a Civil War veteran looks for the missing mother of two children that plead for help. Plodding and padded out well beyond two hours, the unambitious effort moves more like a television mini-series that got whittled into a single movie.

Now a bounty hunter, Frank Conner (Neal Bledsoe) may have survived the Civil War but suffers some form of PTSD from his experiences. He’s an angry and surly man that has forsaken his previous life, living on his own deep in Texas. Two young children, Grace and Ethan, show up at his door on the run and looking for their mother Heather (AnnaLynne McCord). She’s married to Major Briggs (Rob Mayes), a corrupt government official selling guns under the table to the Mexicans and Native Americans.

A Soldier’s Revenge is forgettable filmmaking made for disposable Western entertainment

Taking pity on the children, Frank Conner’s search for their mother reveals a tangled web of connections between the lead characters, including an old feud between Conner and Briggs. A Soldier’s Revenge is competently made but its limited, direct-to-video budget is felt with each eye-rolling development. The hackneyed script is filled with shameless coincidences for cheap emotional manipulation.

The real problem with A Soldier’s Revenge is how long it takes to get started. Large chunks of the first hour could be cut without hurting the film. Once the story gets going, the western action and suspense mostly carries the day. Most viewers will have already checked out by the time Val Kilmer shows up, looking quite the worse for wear. Many fans from his younger days probably won’t recognize the one-time Hollywood star.

There’s nothing absolutely terrible about A Soldier’s Revenge. The cast is solid, putting in fine performances. Bledsoe is a good choice as the traumatized war veteran. Rob Mayes chews the scenery as an over-the-top villain. There’s not a lot of nuance to any character beyond Frank Conner, working in broad western archetypes.

A Soldier’s Revenge is forgettable filmmaking made for disposable Western entertainment. This is not a movie you go out of your way to see unless it pops up on cable.

Video

A Solder’s Revenge gets a satisfactory Blu-ray presentation from Well Go that faithfully reproduces its digital intermediate’s intended aesthetic. The main feature runs almost 140 minutes, released on a BD-25 encoded in AVC. The clean digital video compresses fairly well but this is not a reference encoding; minor banding is visible.

The movie loves sepia and other “vintage” color filters for the Civil War flashbacks. Overall, A Soldier’s Revenge has serviceable HD definition and impressive clarity in 1080P resolution. The sharp picture quality is nicely detailed, though it falls well short of reference video. Exteriors have a lovely contrast and balanced primary colors. Interiors are somewhat less impressive, common with cheaper direct-to-video productions like this one. Shadow delineation is sufficient in darker scenes.

Audio

The 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack offers an aggressive, dense mix filled with gun battles and regular rear surround activity. One issue is the soft dialogue, particularly coming from star Neal Bledsoe. Dynamic range is satisfactory without being stellar. Occasional low-end support ranges from good to underwhelming, lacking bite in a few scenes. The surround mix isn’t especially creative but ties the environment together with realistic sound cues.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font, remaining inside the 2.35:1 widescreen frame at all times. Secondary audio is provided in 2.0 Dolby Digital for some reason.

Extras

Well Go provides an embossed slipcover for collectors. The disc provides no special features beyond trailers.

A Soldier’s Revenge Trailer (01:24 in HD)

Train To Busan Presents: Peninsula Trailer (01:35 in HD)

Cut Throat City & Freaks Trailers (04:16 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

A Soldier's Revenge
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2

Movie

A plodding, generic Western with Neal Bledsoe and AnnaLynne McCord that runs too long.

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User Review
2 (2 votes)

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