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GATW Guest Writer

March 17th, 2012

Guest Review: J.C. De Leon is a Contributor to Slackerwood, Very Aware, Screen Invasion, and Horror's Not Dead.

There’s something to be said for a film filled with problems at a minor level that's still able to come off as enjoyable and, best of all, fun. THE AGGRESSION SCALE is that movie in a nutshell. It takes a while to get going, and as it’s ramping up, you still might wonder why the things you’re seeing on screen are actually taking place. It does the viewer a great service in its first few moments when it makes it clear from the get go that what you’re in for, if nothing else, is a bloody good time.

AGGRESSION starts ominously with a very fit girl out for a jog. When she comes home, waiting for her in the doorway is Lloyd (Dana Ashbrook), a menacing man with a shotgun, who doesn’t waste any time with witty pleasantries that typically come from menacing villains, promptly ruining her day ... by ending her life. One polaroid snapshot of his victim later and he’s quickly off to his next kill. It’s revealed that his band of misfits are hired by a criminal who is out on bail and looking to get out of the country. First, though, he must eliminate those who’ve stolen from him. The final victim is an accountant who has a very troubled son, Owen. But Owen (Ryan Hartwig) has a history and is not to be trifled with.

The violence in the film is enough to get butts in seats and make for a fun film, but the way in which the violence is handled is done extremely well with a bit of humor thrown in for good measure. Derek Mears plays one of the hitmen, and if you can't put a face with the name, there’s definitely a reason for that. Most people who’ve seen him on screen have never seen his face. He’s the actor that made the 2009 FRIDAY THE 13TH remake tolerable as this generation’s Jason Voorhees. More recently, he’s played the hero, Kickpuncher, that Troy and Abed worship on NBC's Community. If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to see him in person at a Q&A, there’s definitely a fun personality hidden under his scary exterior and that gets to shine here, which only adds to the fun.

The biggest problem the film has though is in its lack of development for Owen’s character. It’s clear that he’s got an aggression problem, despite his stoic demeanor, but where does it come from? It’s one thing for him to be aggressive because he’s been bullied before, but he’s setting up traps for his attackers that rival the gags in HOME ALONE. It’s never revealed how he knows how to do this, unless he did watch HOME ALONE hundreds of times as a kid.

Regardless of my issues with AGGRESSION SCALE, there are times you want to watch something you can just turn your brain off to, and this is one of those movies. Quickly paced, AGGRESSION never wastes a moment, making for a film that goes by fast and sticks with you. You might even want to watch it again as soon as the credits roll. Owen might be the reincarnation of Kevin McAllister, Macaulay Culkin's character in HOME ALONE, but he suffers from severe aggression issues. But if you’ve ever wondered how much a man can be hurt by a kid's booby traps, THE AGGRESSION SCALE is more than happy to show you.


Grade: C

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