Movie Review: Rogue Warfare

By Thom Compton 23.02.2020

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Rogue Warfare (UK Rating: 15)

The first 15 minutes of Rogue Warfare are intense. Introduced almost immediately to the dreaded Black Mask's leader, there is absolutely no doubt that he is a depraved and monstrous person. There is no time wasted, and no life spared, showcasing what he is willing to do for his cause. The first 15 minutes are tense and fantastic. Everything after them is confusing, pointless, and worst of all, boring.

After the well written and well-paced opening moments, Rogue Warfare divulges into awful action movie clichés, subpar dialogue, and merely okay acting. The aforementioned Black Masks, a clear stand in for the real world terrorist organization Isis, is planning something menacing that will likely harm a lot of people. So the nations of the world decide to make a team of their most elite soldiers, led by an American, for whatever reason, to take down this threat.

From the get go, this is very poorly explained. The Black Masks are, if nothing else, a fairly small group. You wouldn't know it based on the way they have a seemingly endless stream of similarly dressed henchmen for the heroes to shoot, but they never cast a very commanding presence. In fact, it's hard to tell what damage they are actually capable of inflicting, because they hang out in small makeshift tent villages, which always seem abandoned. Abandoned that is, until the heroes make a lot of noise for longer than three or four minutes.

There seems to be very little in the way of understanding how actual military conflicts unfold. Now, yours truly has never been involved in the military, but it is a safe bet talking loud and walking around with little in the way of subtlety is a sure way to get shot in the face. These heroes don't know the meaning of subtlety though, and while they do occasionally do things you might expect a soldier to do, they are all pretty obvious, even if you've never been in a combat zone. Sure, everyone knows that holding up your fist means stop and watching your six is important, but you could gather that from watching literally any war movie ever made.

Fortunately, there are gun battles! Boy howdy, rootin' tootin' bad guy shootin' gun battles are the best. And boy howdy, are these gun battles boring. Say what you will, but gun fights should be tense and gripping experiences. These are more akin to watching someone push a walker across a gym floor. Enemies run into the line of fire in the most obvious ways, and every moment of tension is sucked right out of the experience when it becomes obvious there's a clearly choreographed pattern to every battle.


Stealthy opening, the heroes find whatever they came to locate, and then the enemy catches onto them. Suddenly, despite no enemies being anywhere, aside a few lambs for the slaughter (most of whom aren't a threat anyway), the entire cast of Oklahoma runs out, firing guns everywhere but at the heroes. Sadly, there was no time for dress rehearsal, so there's a lot of stepping on each other's feet.

Speaking of no rehearsal time, these performances are... well, iffy. As vocal vessels for the writer's words, everyone does a decent job. However, if you like even the slightest direction of inflection or depth to the spoken words, you will be sorely disappointed. Also, the accent work is largely off here, but that seems like more of a production issue than a performance one. So much dialogue seems to be added during post, and none of it with the intention of being believable.

The biggest crime though really is how dull the whole experience is. It's so weird considering how filled to the brim this movie is with action clichés. There's the guy who tells everyone to stay out of his way. Grenades are far more explosive then they are in real life. Hell, there's even a red phone that can be used to "get the president on the line." Then there's the bad guy, and his dialogue… and wow.

Action movies are typically pretty light on monologues, and random dialogue is usually reserved for one liners. This movie has one liners, but they're about as cool as watching your dad dress like a rapper and spout lines like "Wicky Wicky Wack!" and "What's the dealio, homeslice." However, there are also long rambling moments of dialogue, generally between the bad guy and someone else. Generally, that someone else is his assistant, and they talk about their plans so much that they stop being scary within the first half hour. The only thing in this film that manages to be more boring than the action, is the dialogue, but the margins are not wide enough to call the action a winner.

Rated 3 out of 10


Less like watching Call of Duty in movie form, and more like watching a 90 minute commercial for Call of Duty sponsored by Doritos, Rogue Warfare feels incoherent. It only manages to not score lower because it's mostly inoffensive, and the director managed to make a film where Middle Eastern people are the bad guys and that doesn't really feel racist - though there is one joke that's not particularly tasteful. Regardless, this is a mostly empty capsule, which is more likely to have you checking your watch than your heart rate.

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