John Rhys-Davies has been in an amazing amount of films (his current list on IMDB is at 258). The Welsh actor has done everything from Lord Of The Rings to Raiders Of The Lost Ark, even Aquaman but has also been in some, it’s fair to stay, stinkers.
One of his more recent films is Aux, known in the UK as Soldier Of War, which he also had a hand in producing. Soldier Of War is a British made, horror movie with a decent sized budget and some familiar faces alongside Davies.
Whilst Aux has some decent production values at times, and isn’t a bad idea, it suffers from being far too slow with the, effective when they happen, horror aspects far too infrequent.
There’s also a lack of focus: whilst we’d love Rhys-Davies to be front and centre, in truth he plays a bit-part with new detective Rosie Fellner (“The Trip To Italy”, “Heist”) and new partner Tristam Summers (“Hollyoaks (TV)”, “Johnny English Strikes Again”) taking centre stage.
But you also have Paul Reynolds (“Eddie The Eagle”, “Casualty (TV)”) as the DI then Gary Mavers (“Emmerdale (TV)”, “Casualty (TV)”) as the forensics officer and more. No-one seems to step-up and take charge of the movie, no-one seems to want to be front and centre.
The movie needed to be tightened up in the editing room and needed to be given a good focus point. The ‘bad guy’ in all of this, played by Glenn Salvage (“Essex Heist”, “Never Let Go”), is a former soldier, now back from the dead.
Two kids, out in the woods, accidentally discover a former secret bunker and awaken this soldier, who has been in there since World War II (how he has survived or come back to life is never explained).
The soldier, not having any concept of time, still thinks the war is on and begins slaughtering those he sees as enemies. Davies, on hearing about the killings on the news, convinces Fellner and Summers that he knows what’s going on and can help them find the person responsible.
One of the best aspects of Soldier Of War has to be the sound. It will make good use of your surround sound setup and, although you know it’s designed to make you jump, it works.
Davies is the stand out actor, far from his usual bombastic self, he plays a more remorseful, haunted type of figure. Some of the other characters only serve to add to the slow feeling, with pregnant pauses and awkward exchanges littering the film.
Writers Peter and John Adams, the latter also directing, have made a decent film in Aux. It has its issues, slowness being one of the main ones, but it is a good idea and has some high production values.
Hopefully, this points to good things to come as the two (I’m assuming) brothers hone their craft with more releases.