Review: DEADFALL Flaunts Eric Bana's Badassery, But Not Much Else

Deadfall really hits the ground running. Addison (Eric Bana) and his sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) are celebrating her first casino heist. En route to the Canadian border, freedom is temporarily put on hold when their vehicle hits a deer, sending it high into the air, where it learns all about the laws of gravity and slow motion in a display that would make Zack Snyder very proud. 

The two survive, but a state trooper happens to drive by and calls in the wreckage before Addison shoots him dead. Now these two are stuck in a big snowstorm with only one option: run. Because she’s pure at heart, Addison doesn’t want the chance of them getting caught together and decides the two should split up and meet at the border. (They do have cellphones, so she can call in to let him know she’s alive.) But as nature has it, a plan is just a list of things that never happen. This is Deadfall, which doesn’t offer much, but does showboat how unfading Bana’s acting talents are with his fists and wit. 

Eric Bana really rolls with the punches in Deadfall. He fully embodies this merciless, maniac killer. He fights like an animal and has the survival instincts of a hunter. Addison kills first, then asks questions. Come to think of it, he doesn’t even ask questions, he just kills. His mind is focused on getting over the border with his sister and their large chunk of cash, no matter what. His love for her is undying, which gives him a few moments of heart, but we’re quickly reminded that, more than anything else, he’s a killer. Watching Bana out in the snow and adapting to survive are the scenes that bring this film to life.  

While Bana is out playing MacGyver to survive, Liza cozies up to Jay (Son of Anarchy's Charlie Hunnam), an ex-con and disgraced former boxer with a killer left hook. Jay finds Liza stranded on the road and picks her up. They head to the closest bar and learn the cops have closed down all roads. Since they are both on the run from Johnny Law, they spend the night there. Oh yeah, Jay was just released from prison and accidentally already committed a crime before meeting Liza, so things are shaky for him too. To occupy time, they pretend to be newlyweds, drink alcohol, and talk about Jay's previous life as a boxer. You're a clever one, dear reader, so you already see where this scenario heads.

This love story is what bogs down the movie. One half of the film follows a guy fighting his way through the snow, police, and local natives, and the other half is consumed by chatter about redemption and a possible one night stand. Jay and Liza’s shared scenes are necessary to make the film come full circle, but it’s just, well, boring.
On Bana’s trail is Sergeant Becker (Treat Williams), who has assembled a team to track this man down. One of the team members is his daughter Hannah (Kate Mara), who he mocks because she’s a girl and everybody knows a woman shouldn’t be in law enforcement. In short, he’s kind of a dick, and so is his team (but not her, she’s sweet). Little do they know (or care, really), she’s smart as a whip and has plans to do bigger and better things.

Also co-starring is Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson. Blink and you’ll miss them. Deadfall isn’t by any means dreadful, but all it offers is a solid look at how great Eric Bana is as an actor. Watch this for his killer performance alone.

Deadfall is now available to watch on various Video On Demand platforms in the U.S., including iTunes, and will open in limited theatrical release on December 7, 2012.