Semper Fi (2019)

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A police officer and Marine Corps Reservist officer finds his moral compass troubling when he faces a serious dilemma in this drama from director Henry-Alex Rubin.

Callahan is a by-the-book police officer who has gained everyone’s respect. However, he is more than just an ordinary cop. He is the leader of a team in the Marine Corps Reserves and has a group of soldiers he considers his brothers. However, he tends to be at constant odds with his younger half-brother Oyster, who is too immature for his own good. However, one fateful night is about to change everyone’s lives when Oyster accidentally kills a man in a bar fight, forcing Callahan to do the right thing and have him arrested.

During Oyster’s imprisonment, Callahan and his team are deployed in Iraq. When they return home, Callahan learns that not only was Oyster given an unfair sentence and on top of that, the prison guards have been abusing and making Oyster’s life a living hell. After learning his brother has been denied an appeal twice, Callahan becomes reckless and finds himself on a forced suspension. This invokes Callahan to do something he never imagined he would ever have to do.

From director Henry-Alex Rubin, who co-wrote the film with Sean Mullin, comes this very thrilling drama about the moral compass of a police officer and his reckless half-brother, whose actions come back to haunt him but taken a bit too far. Rubin, who prefers realism in his films, succeeds with the idea of “brotherhood” and it doesn’t just apply to the idea of military soldiers, but in the case of protagonist Callahan, his relationship with his younger half-brother.

There tends to be that one movie where fans will see actors and say to themselves, maybe we were wrong about this actor. It’s that one breakout role that will help solidify that actor’s career. For this, we get a two-fer in the forms of Jai Courtney and Nat Wolff. While Courtney did get rave for his maniacal performance as Captain Boomerang in Suicide Squad, he really gives it his all emotional-wise in the lead role of Callahan, who questions himself when he finds himself dealing with his younger half-brother, who is in jail and finds himself getting abused by the guards there. Courtney brings in an emotional range bring such a good character until the odds are against him.

While Nat Wolff may have slumped with his take as Light in the American Death Note remake, Wolff redeems himself and then some in the role of Oyster, Callahan’s immature and reckless half-brother who find himself in serious trouble when he accidentally kills a man in a bar fight. He finds his reckless behavior coming back to haunt him due to his unfair treatment from the guards, who abuse their authority and even go as far as making threats when they learn Callahan’s intention to prove the guards’ abuse. Wolff churns out perhaps most powerful performance as someone who goes from carefree to broken as he finally learns why Callahan tends to be hard on him. Add to the mix in an effort to show the idea of brotherhood between soldiers, there is a very emotional subplot involving Finn Wittrock’s Jaeger dealing with a battle wound and how it affects his on-off relationship with an ex-girlfriend, played by Leighton Meester.

Semper Fi is a very emotional drama about the idea of brotherhood between both family and soldiers, driven by powerful performances by Jai Courtney and Nat Wolff.

WFG RATING: B+

Lionsgate presents a Sparkhouse Media production in association with Rumble Films and Metalnet Productions. Director: Henry-Alex Rubin. Producers: David Lancaster and Karina Miller. Writers: Sean Mullin and Henry-Alex Rubin. Cinematography: David Devlin. Editing: Kevin Tent and Kyle Valenta.

Cast: Jai Courtney, Nat Wolff, Finn Wittrock, Leighton Meester, Beau Knapp, Arturo Castro, Wayne Pere, Rudy Reyes, Mustafa Elzein, Lance E. Nichols.

Lionsgate will be releasing the film on October 4, 2019.

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