In his latest low-budget action film, Shrapnel, Jason Patric collaborates with director William Kaufman from Saban Films. Chad Law and Johnny Martin Walters pen the film's screenplay. Sean Beckwith (Patric) is a retired military colonel living in El Paso, Texas, with his wife Susan (Kesia Elwin) and daughters Lauren (Emily Perry) and Leigh (Teresa Decher).
After a night of partying across the border, Lauren goes missing, and rumor has it she has fallen victim to the Cartels of Juarez, Mexico. Against the wishes of local law enforcement, Sean decides to hold a press conference pleading for his daughter's return. With no results, Sean's former battle buddy Max (Cam Gigandet) suggests that Sean use his military training to cross the border and get his daughter back. Little does Sean know he's caught the eye of one of the Cartel families led by the trigger-happy Carlos (Guillermo Ivan), and they want Sean silenced by any means necessary.
Hollywood has a long history with Juarez, Mexico, with films such as Sicario and Rambo: Last Blood using the location as a film setting. I've been to Juarez twice as a teen and always remember hearing about the dangers down there, so it makes sense there have been so many films set. In that regard, Shrapnel is a movie you've seen before, and within, say, the first fifteen minutes, most viewers will know exactly where the film is going.
Jason Patric has had a somewhat interesting career since breaking through in the 1987 classic, The Lost Boys. I remember reading an article years ago that Patric preferred smaller films to bigger-budget things. So it's surprising in the 21st century, some of the films he's chosen to do. For the film's duration, Patric looks lost. On the one hand, perhaps, the intent was to juxtapose his character's PTSD and anguish over his lost daughter. But Patric is capable of better, and he knows it.
His performance reeks of "I'm only here for the money." The supporting cast is on autopilot for the short run time, with every character falling into an underwhelming template. The film might have been better if Cam Gigandet and Patric swapped roles, with Gigadet as the daughter's fiancée and Patric as his former commander.
Those expecting a ton of action from the film's poster will have to wait until the film's third act. I will credit Patric for looking convincing as he takes down his foes. However, movies like the John Wick series have changed the action, so anything has to go the extra notch to impress me. While Shrapnel adheres to its hackneyed premise, I tolerate it due to my appreciation for low-budget action films. Nevertheless, the movie falters by laboriously dragging on and failing to provide satisfactory amusement.
Final Grade : D