Considering the schlock Sir Anthony Hopkins currently agrees to star in (Kidnapping Mr. Heineken, Misconduct) assumably to fill voids between bigger projects (RED 2, Marvel’s Thor franchise), Blackway is at least the kind of schlock that is entertaining.

In this vengeful yarn, Hopkins teams up with a workhand (Lone Survivor’s Alexander Ludwig) to help a frightened waitress (The Bourne Ultimatum’s Julia Stiles) to “straighten out” a violent ex-cop named Blackway (Ray Liotta turning up his maniac dials until smoke streams out).  Blackway is a real monster.  He attacks people until they’re a bloody pulp, threatens other families, and forcefully positions himself so he has the upper hand in any situation.  He even specializes in “hillbilly heroin” which is cooked in a hotel most hillbillies would rate negatively on Yelp.

Daniel Alfredson’s Blackway is a cat-and-mouse chase that switches back-and-forth crossing vigilante justice with stake outs and overwrought dialogue.  It reminded me of Homefront envisioned through the less-animated scope of Out of the Furnace.  However, the film is legitimately thrilling through gritty fights and Hopkins’ composed intimidation.  Despite the film being hammy, it’s at least more fun to endure than Alfredson’s last film, the aforementioned Kidnapping Mr. Heineken.

The film never swims upstream against the inevitable which, in fact, helps it out when satisfying expectations.  It doesn’t rise to the occasion, but audiences receive exactly what they paid for.  Granted, that’s not exactly a winning endorsement, but it is reassurance for movie goers wanting to take a chance on a random thriller that just, sort of, appeared in their local cinema or on their VOD queue.


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