Adverse (USA, 2021)

A man reverts to his past to avenge his sister in this thrilling action film from writer-director Brian A. Metcalf.

Ethan Locke is a former gangster with severe anger issues. Since the death of his mother, he has done everything he can to protect his younger sister Mia from the wrong crowd, much to her chagrin. Ethan works as a rideshare driver but after a bad experience, he is not able to get paid. Things find themselves taking a major turn when Ethan drives Kaden, the most notorious crime lord in the city to his destination. Ethan doesn’t think much about it, but when Mia is found dead of a drug overdose, Ethan is sent over the edge.

He confronts Dante, a drug dealer connected with Mia’s boyfriend Lars, who got Mia into drugs in the first place. When Dante threatens to kill Ethan, he is killed by Kaden and his cohorts Jan and Kyle. Kaden, impressed with Ethan’s attempt at confronting Dante, offers him a job to work for him as his driver. Ethan accepts the job knowing full well Kaden is involved with Mia’s death. He soon hatches a plan in which he may do more than avenge Mia, but save his neighbor Chloe, who is next to be on Kaden’s hit list.

Brian A. Metcalf brings something very interesting to this action thriller. While the film may seem like a run by the numbers revenge film, it goes beyond that. It is a story of redemption as we see our protagonist Ethan not only looking to avenge the death of his sister but find a path within himself where if he does selfless acts. This includes attempting at rescuing those who have also fell prey to those responsible for his sister’s death, perhaps he may have a purpose in life by doing the right thing.

What Metcalf does in terms of casting is even more ingenious. He cast some former child stars in roles that would definitely break away from their former selves and thus, definitely a true actor. One who could take on any type of role without being typecast. Former Rookie of the Year and American Pie franchise actor Thomas Nicholas goes all out in the central role of Ethan, who plays overprotective big brother until he goes down a spiral into the underworld to find those responsible for his sister’s death.

While Mickey Rourke’s main villain of Kaden makes an impact in some pivotal scenes, the aforementioned casting of former child stars is well present and shows how much they have grown and can still impress after all these years. Andrew Keegan (Camp Nowhere) plays it extremely tough as Kaden’s number one Jan, complete with long hair, goatee, and yellow teeth while Luke Edwards (The Wizard, Little Big League) plays cohort Kyle as a mentally challenged member who loves that Ethan is involved, not knowing he has infiltrated.

Jake T. Austin appears as Mia’s boyfriend Lars, who got her into the entire mess with nightclub owner and dealer Dante, played by the director himself. Aaron Schwartz makes the most of his role as Detective Miller while we have veterans Lou Diamond Phillips as Ethan’s counselor Dr. Cruz and Penelope Ann Miller in flashbacks as Ethan and Mia’s mother Nicole, whose death prompts Ethan to give up his former life.

Adverse is a very tense thriller that’s more than a revenge film and on top of that, you get to see some former child stars in perhaps some breakout adult roles here. A winner form Brian A. Metcalf.

WFG RATING: A-

Lionsgate presents a Black Jellybeans/Potato Eater Productions production in association with Red Compass Media. Director: Brian A. Metcalf. Producers: Brian A. Metcalf, Thomas Nicholas, and Kelly Arjen. Writer: Brian A. Metcalf. Cinematography: Derrick Cohan. Editing: Brian A. Metcalf.

Cast: Thomas Nicholas, Mickey Rourke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kate Katzman, Penelope Ann Miller, Kelly Arjen, Jake T. Austin, Andrew Keegan, Luke Edwards, Aaron Schwartz, Brian A. Metcalf, Sean Astin, Matt Ryan.

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