Review of: 13-Romeo 

reviewed by MSeyf on 06/10/2011
Credited Review
MSeyf
Action & Drama Credited Review
Action and Drama/Romance often make strange bedfellows. I must confess I feared one of those god awful Mr & Mrs Smith/Knight & Day Bountry Hunter type affairs here. I'm delighted to say those fears were misfounded.

There is lots to love about this script. The action scenes in particular are tight neat and filled with mouth watering tension and authenticity.

The structure with the drama type flashbacks interspersed with the ever mounting tension of the present day siege unfolding works really really well.

It allows you to have a break neck action movie that doesnít need to stop to flesh out itís characters, and as the tension and drama of the siege unfold we are given more and more character detail and therefore given more and more reasons to care about Shep and to want to know how and if he'll make it through his last day on the job.

One critism Iíll level is the department of character description. You throw alot of characters at us and at times there isnít enough in the way of distinct voices to help us pick them apart. A few more sentences just to set up the different characters as easily identified archtypes I think would help. Think of how everyone in the Shieldís cast is really easily distingusable with just a handful of visual and dialogue quirks. I think adding a bit more colour/quirks to the supporting characters would help here too.

Parts of the present day scenes really reminded me of all the pre bus stuff in the first Speed. Really dramatic and tense in all the right ways. The flashback structure is risky in this type of movie and I think at present it works really good but there is a disconnect that stops it being quite as great as it could be.

Now Iíve got a somewhat controversial issue and also a controversial suggested solution to it. Part of my problem for me was the disconnect between the flashbacks and the unfolding siege. I kept waiting for them to link up and while they 'kinda' do, those links come very late in the day. It does build up nicely to the emotional punch of the ending and the 'guyís who donít come home from their shift theme' of the movie but for long stretches I was struggling to really get into the present day stuff and to link it all together. And I think the absence of Amy was the problem. Now had Amy somehow been in building in which the siege unfolded, somehow one of the hostages? Maybe Resneck has taken hostages that are in a press core in the bid to gain publicity for his cause/grudge? I dunno. But I think involving Amy in the siege somehow would help to unite the drama and action aspects better? So as we learn about the estranged relationship between Shep and Amy we'd get to see and become increasingly invested in Shepís increasingly desperate attempts to save HER from the threat. And the couple would get an emotional good bye in the finale. That way in the end his sacrifice has that much more of an emotional punch? Sort of like the first Die Hard if John had died to save his wife type deal. Of course you lose some really neat stuff and specially the neat Ďsorry I didnít return from my shiftí ending that you have. But I just feel like at present there isnít a clear enough link between the romantic story and the action siege for long stretches and I think putting Amy into the middle of the siege somehow would be an idea for addressing the disconnect?

Donít get me wrong I had a blast reading the screenplay and both strands of it work really well independently of one another. Another minor gripe was Shepís lack of development, which isnít such a problem in an action movie but sits a little more uneasy in a drama/romance context. Heís kinda stoic and saintly throughout and I didnít get enough of sense of an inner struggle about him. I wanted him more torn between duty to the force and duty to Amy kinda thing.

I dunno so much of it works so well itís really hard to put my finger on the disconnect. I think itís got something to do with Amyís absence in the siege stuff. Also, Resneck could maybe mirror Shep more? We learn too little too late about why Resneck is doing what heís doing and I felt it kinda weakened the present day siege segment of the story. Since for alot of the time it's just another (albeit) tougher final day job for Shep.
Itís kinda like all the drama and emotion is in the flashbacks and all the action is in the present day story and somehow addressing this disparity I think will make the difference between making a very good SP into a potentially great one.

Sorry itís all a bit vague. But anyway best of luck with it and thanks for writing such a barnstorming screenplay.

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