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Movie Reviews

‘Black Site’ review: Stars carry promising action movie

A cut and dry action movie.

Black Site follows CIA agent Abby Trent (Michelle Monaghan) who manages an underground facility that houses high risk detainees. Days before she is reassigned to a new post, a high-value target codenamed Hatchet (Jason Clarke) is brought in. When he escapes, Abby looks to avenge her husband and soon finds out she cannot trust anyone. 

The plot tries a few different things, but it is a cut and dry action movie. Thankfully, it has a strong enough cast to get away with it for a while. Monaghan and Clarke do well with what they are given. While Abby and Hatchet are never written to be anything more than genre stereotypes, the actors get as much from the characters as they can. 

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One issue is Black Site takes itself way too seriously. The film seems to be going for hard-nosed action, but the clunky dialogue and lack of surprises actively work against any tension. Add in a plot that refuses to allow anyone to suspend disbelief, and things can become frustratingly bad. The movie is at its peak after Hatchet escapes. There are some impressive kills and he is the most interesting character in Black Site. (This is something of a cheat as he is silent for the majority of the time.) There are also some gruesome deaths that are arguably the most impressive part of the film. 

Black Site has the elements of a good action movie. Michelle Monaghan is a believable action star while the simple premise is a good setup for some mindless action. Unfortunately, the script is a bad mix of straightforward action and eye-rolling dialogue. There is some fun to be had, but it is hard to look past its glaring flaws.

Black Site will be available in select theaters, On Demand and in Redbox kiosks May 3

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