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Boneyard takes a different approach to the serial killer genre

In his 21st directorial project, 'Boneyard,' filmmaker Asif Akbar presents a unique and gripping narrative that unfolds in collaboration with Lionsgate. Inspired by actual events, the screenplay is a joint effort between Akbar, Hank Byrd, Vincent E. McDaniel, and Steven Sakai. The movie delves into the unsettling discovery of the skeletal remains of eleven women and girls in the vast expanse of the New Mexico desert, a plot that sets it apart from other crime-thrillers, triggering an extensive and riveting investigation.

This bone-chilling crime-thriller intertwines the compelling portrayal of Police Chief Carter (Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson), Detective Ortega (Brian Van Holt), and Agent Petrovick (Mel Gibson) as they lead a collaborative, multi-agency pursuit. Their mission is to unmask and bring the perpetrator to justice. As their differing motivations and approaches collide, a tangled and enigmatic web of suspicion is spun, casting doubt in every direction.

"Boneyard" is a film that I went into blind and knew nothing about other than the general plot summary. I purposely avoided the trailer at all costs. From the moment 'Boneyard' starts, it's clear that Asif Akbar and his scriptwriters want audiences to throw out any misgivings about hip-hop icon 50 Cent from how you usually see him on screen.

While Jackson has never claimed to be a severe thespian, I commend the director for allowing 50 Cent to show some range. That isn't to say he will win a major acting award for his portrayal of Police Chief Carter. However, there was nothing in the role where I saw Kanan, his character from the Power universe; instead, he organically taps into the role of an uptight police captain.

Similarly, Mel Gibson has, for the most part, been stuck in the direct-to-home market for a while. Kudos to screenwriter Hank Byrd and fellow writer Koji Steven Sakai for collaborating on his character. The duo doesn't try to turn Gibosn's character into a mythical figure reminiscent of his Martin Riggs days. Instead, the character of Agent Petrovick has his arc and reasons for wanting to solve, which I was interested in.

Finally, Brian Van Holt's character of Detective Ortega also has a solid arc and motivation for wanting to solve the case. While each man has their reason, the script wisely avoids turning the film into a testertone-filled showdown. Instead, we get different viewpoints from different angles of law enforcement over the runtime.

I do want to advise viewers that while the runtime is short, "Boneyard" is a thriller light on fisticuffs, gun battles, and scares. Furthermore, my one gripe with the film was that I found Nora Zehetner's female lead a little underwritten. Nevertheless, the chemistry between our three leads is strong enough for me to recommend the film, and I hope we get another project from the creatives soon.

Final Grade: B-

"Boneyeard" arrives on VOD tomorrow, 7/2/2024, and opens in limited theaters on 7/5/2024.


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