Christian Sesma’s “Section 8” is part conspiracy movie, part assassin film, part revenge thriller, and part character study. The blending of such disparate elements in one action movie is far from new, and in some ways, “Section 8” achieves its greatest accomplishment as a shining testimony to the directorial skills of Christian Sesma as a rising action filmmaker.
With the additional components action movie legends like Dolph Lundgren and Scott Adkins on board, and “Section 8” is a dark-edged assassin thriller with sharp precision in its aim…
A Quiet Life Destroyed…
War veteran Jake (Ryan Kwanten) has long since left his battlefield days behind him, employed as an auto-mechanic by his uncle Earl (Mickey Rourke).
His quiet life is tragically destroyed when a local gang kills his wife and son as an act of revenge for Jake’s previous refusal to kiss their ring at the auto shop.
Jake’s subsequent slaughter of his family’s killers lands him in prison, but the act itself and Jake’s military background attract the attention of the mysterious government operative Ramsey (Dermot Mulroney), head of a shadowy assassin agency codenamed “Section 8”.
Jake is recruited into Section 8, and briefly resigns himself to a life of killing by all the means he knows. However, Jake eventually breaks rank with Section 8 and goes on the run, finding himself navigating a twisting series of revelations and betrayals as he is pursued by his fellow Section 8 assassins, including the sinister, one-man killing machine Locke (Scott Adkins).
“Section 8” is a Dark, Slow-Burn…
“Section 8” kicks off with Jake in a war-ravaged country on his last mission with his compatriot Tom Mason (Dolph Lundgren), as oddly what feels like the last happy memory of Jake’s life.
When the dark turn comes that shatters Jake’s work, “Section 8” gets dead serious that it means business about why he’s being recruited.
Jake’s trade as a soldier is wielded against him by the vicious gang who murdered his family and by Ramsey as the head of Section 8 alike, Jake becomes a pawn to the agendas of everyone around him trying to exploit his capacity to take lives against his desire to respect them.
Ryan Kwanten’s morose, vengeful performance as Jake makes him a natural for this kind of action movie, an anti-hero, and a man both broken and invincible.
Christian Sesma’s Direction is Fantastic
Christian Sesma is also becoming an increasingly well-regarded filmmaker among action movie fans, and rightfully so.
His past directorial efforts like “Vigilante Diaries”, “Take Back”, and “Every Last One of Them” showed he could do a lot with a minor budget, and his talent for minimalism is really flexed again in “Section 8”.
While a small-scale assassin movie caper, Christian knows how to keep the vicious hunt of “Section 8” moving as Jake flees his for freedom at a brisk pace with the somewhat reserved action scenes hitting where it counts. And, of course, for that element of “Section 8”, like Ramsey himself, Christian brought in the big guns.
Enter Scott Adkins for the Spin Kick Action!
In his role as Locke, Scott Adkins is somewhat more on the periphery of the story, but in a good way.
There are some good fights and shoot-outs in the body of “Section 8”, but the build-up to what Locke is on hand for is the real capstone of the action.
Following the pursuit of Jake throughout the movie, his and Locke’s one-on-one smackdown is the action highlight of “Section 8” by a mile, Scott bringing Boyka’s kicks to a role more comparable to Yuri Pterov from “The Tournament”.
Locke might be a relatively minor role for Scott, but it’s still one that adds the requisite number of spin-kicks to the proceedings of the dark tale of “Section 8”.
“Section 8” is an Edgy, Hard-Hitting Action Thriller
That “Section 8” has to work within the parameters of budget filmmaking, all low-budget action movie fans know, but it tells a compelling escape-revenge thriller despite those restrictions.
Ryan Kwantan’s chops as an action movie lead really make the case for him further anchoring such assassin-based thrillers, while Dolph Lundgren and Mickey Rourke add strong gravitas as the elder statesmen of the film.
Christian Sesma adds another notch to his belt with “Section 8”, as well, and one can’t help but cheer for the prospect of him attaining Isaac Florentine or Jesse Johnson levels of reverence among action fans with his upcoming movies with Scott “Lights Out” and “War Paint”.
He and Scott have already gotten one superb final fight in the can with “Section 8” – bring on what they’ve got cooking next!