Dir. William Kaufman (2023)
Two brothers are part of a bank heist and find themselves on the run from an FBI agent who is hot on their trail.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I don't generally review non-horror movies like this for the site but I'm also a huge action fan and was sent this movie by some of the PR folks so I figured, what the hell, why not? I didn't quite know what to expect, whether The Channel would be like something along the lines of Point Break or if it would be more of a shoot-em-up actionfest, and I was delighted to discover that it was a good mixture of both. William Kaufman's new film is about two army-veteran brothers (Clayne Crawford and Max Martini) who are trying to pull one big bank job in New Orleans. When things go awry, they end up in a standoff with an overzealous FBI who is on their tail, basically recreating the North Hollywood Shootout as they blast thousands of rounds at each other, resulting in the deaths of all but three of the criminals and several of the law enforcement agents. Unfortunately, from there things get a little messy.
The acting in The Channel is more than adequate, and both Crawford and Martini do an excellent job as two troubled brothers who have supported each other through a horrific past only to wind up in a bind when they turn to a life of crime. The supporting cast is great as well, especially Juliene Joyner, who plays Crawford's character's wife Ava. It's the story where most of the messiness comes into play, as it felt at times that the writers struggled getting from a bombastic opening all the way to a satisfying conclusion. There's more than enough action for those that like gunplay, but some of the film's more dramatic elements failed to hit home as the story got more convoluted as it went on.
That said, for action fans, The Channel is well worth a watch. The violence is top notch and there are some shocking scenes of gore that may well find a place for horror fans as well. It actually reminds me a good bit of The Retaliators, which we reviewed early last year, though there are a fewer horror elements within, but this is going to be one that you watch for the ole' ultraviolence anyway. The Channel delivers when it needs to without breaking any new ground.
On a side note: I would've sworn throughout most of this movie that it took place in Boston rather than The Big Easy. It's actually pretty amazing how close the accents are to each other, and as someone with more than a little Cajun blood running through my veins, I was surprised to learn that I could barely tell the difference. I actually was going to criticize the film for saying it was happening in New Orleans when all of the actors clearly had Boston accents until I looked one of them up on IMDb and found that she was, in fact, from Louisiana. It felt almost like a ripoff of some of those Affleck movies from the early 2000's, but nope, I'm just an idiot.
Who this movie is for: Action movie lovers, Heist movie fans, Cajuns
Bottom line: While The Channel doesn't nearly hit on all cylinders and at time gets a little convoluted, the action chops within are more than enough to make movie fans happy. If you're wanting to check out the film because you want to see ten minute-plus shootouts, you're going to get exactly what you came for. The acting is decent, the direction is more than competent, and there are some truly gruesome scenes of violence that would make Scorsese blush. Definitely recommend this one if you want a break from horror and aren't too discerning with your tastes.