When I saw this title on the shelf, I was reminded of 1998, when films with seemingly identical subject matter were released the same summer: Armageddon and Deep Impact. I think of this year because about a month ago, a movie with Kevin Bacon, Death Sentence, made it to DVD, and by all accounts previewing, The Brave One looked to be very much the same animal, varying only the gender of its main character. I wasn't really too far off.
While Death Sentence, directed by the original creator of Saw, focuses heavily on the action side of a revenge-driven killing spree and artfully displays blood gushing from Bacon's victims, The Brave One plays more with the emotion of a similar scenario. The films' differences are guided largely by the genders of their stars: man, kill; woman, kill, but think about it a whole lot more.
Radio host Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) is paralyzed by fear after she is severely beaten and her fiance is killed by random thugs. Rather than succumbing, she illegally purchases a handgun and defends herself from other would-be criminals. Bain develops an unlikely friendship with a police detective (Terrence Howard) who tracks the defensive crimes she herself is committing. Howard plays an endearing character, as is traditional for him, and Foster mostly reprises her hard-edged, vulnerable type she created in Panic Room.
The plot ranges between feeling realistic and fake, though it's more of the latter in a rather unexpected conclusion. Overall, it's a decent mix of action and drama, and not a bad rental choice.
This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.