Target Practice (2008) – Review

4 Stars

On the way to a remote location to enjoy fishing and drinking, a group of five friends encounter a violent hostile militia bent on killing each one of them. That’s the basic setup for Target Practice, the ambitious and exhilarating debut film from Richmond Riedel. A former editor, Riedel shows himself to be a gifted filmmaker and an exciting new talent on the scene. His film is like a Ludlum novel mixed with Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort wrapped in the visual stylings of Peter Berg.

Target Practice has a rich sound design and sharp editing along with a well thought out screenplay. To see characters act rationally in action movies is a rarity, specifically in ultra low budget fare. However Riedel has cast his film with solid actors that are easily identifiable and intelligent. The decisions these guys are forced to make and the shifting power struggles has roots in classic literature, but it’s still effective when handled correctly. The sharp direction does just that.

I appreciated the performances, particularly by Eric Dean as the impish nerdy type that truly becomes a leader and Joey Lanai (who resembles Stallone in long shots) as a bigot forced into cooperation with an ethnic man. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay the film is to say there isn’t a dead frame or wasted moment in the entire running time. As someone who has seen untold amounts of B-movie action flicks (I wade through a massive amount of shlock), every so often I’ll stumble upon a movie like Target Practice and it’s a reminder that no matter how large or small a budget, a talented creative team can make movie magic in the foothills of their own backyard.

Director: Richmond Riedel
Stars: Joey Lanai, Eltony Williams, Solomon Hoilett

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