Land of Bad

Directed By William Eubank

Starring – Liam Hemsworth, Russell Crowe, Milo Ventimiglia

The Plot – A rookie air force combat controller (Hemsworth) and a seasoned drone pilot (Crowe) support a Delta Force team as they try to shift a mission gone wrong into a rescue operation.

Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout.

Land of Bad – Exclusive Trailer Premiere (2024) Liam Hemsworth, Russell Crowe (


You can say many things about Eubank’s direction and “Land of Bad” as a whole, but boring simply isn’t one of them, with an explosive experience that grips you on the edge of your seat throughout some intensely gruesome action set pieces. While many directors have difficulty attaining authenticism or believability in the depths of their wartime dramas, Eubank vividly articulates the atmospheric dread and hopelessness of a small group of solidiers invading an overwhelming majority, and with expressionism in meaningful merits that lend themselves towards some stylistically immersive on-the-ground sequences, he’s clearly a director who knows how to prolong the kind of suspension and anticipatory tension that forcefully pushes the envelope in the best kind of methods. Whether the invasively claustrophobic captures that follows our solidiers faithfully throughout the many varying environments and ruthless situations that they find themselves in, the pulse-setting score from composer Brandon Roberts narrating the dire devastation, or these blanketing sound schemes from the production that intensify the volitile atmospheric elements, everything assembled packs a walloping punch to the proceedings, and when paid off with the kind of brutality and carnage candy that consistently maximizes potential inside of the desired hard-R rating, the film serves as a refreshing throwback to the 90’s wartime thrillers that never shook under the idea of getting their hands dirty. To an embracing fault, the sequences are more overstylized than we’re used to with typical war movies, with slow motion and unorthodox camera placements on everything from guns to character solidiers, but always ones that shed light on elements of physicality that are unfortunately overlooked, playing like a chorus of chaos to the welcoming environment that overwhelms us from the word go, during a beach-storming plane jump that makes a parashoot pull feel like the end of the world for one particular character. Aside from these gratifying action sequences, the film is aided tremendously by two meaningful performances from Hemsworth and Crowe, who commit themselves to two varying characters on respective sides of the career tour ideal. For Hemsworth, it’s a chance to play a humanistic character full of fears and vulnerabilities that, not only play against action hero types of past conventionalisms, but also leads towards a rewarding character evolution that feels like the living, breathing emphasis of a solidier who has witnessed the worst that war has to offer. As to where Liam’s brother Chris has made a living portraying these bigger than life characters, Liam feels comfortable grounding his expectations in reality, leading to approaches to character that make him feel so emotionally diverse from his brother, despite their overwhelmingly glaring similarities in appearance. For Crowe, it’s another chance to exemplify the crotchety weathered veteran that made last year’s “The Pope’s Exorcist” such a pleasant surprise, once more with razor sharp comedic timing and underlining humility that prove there’s plenty of heart beneath the gruff exterior. The dynamic between these men ages gracefully in their dependency towards one another, and while Crowe may in fact exude himself through the best moments that the film has to offer, it’s Hemsworth’s stoic resiliency that eventually comes to enact an iron will that brings out the best in solidier mentality. Lastly, much credit to the production for on-site locations that don’t require jarring special effects in backdrops and C.G infused explosions to play imaginatively towards the various engagements. While the film isn’t filmed in Guantanamo, as set upon, the Queensland Gold Coast of Australia’s jungles do more than enough to zero in on these same types of territories, especially with enveloping trees and creeks that emphasizes unpredictability in the things that we can’t always see.


Aside from the film having an on-the-nose title that feels like it was mumbled together by Frankenstein’s monster, the film feels like it begins at a point when the movie was already about a half hour in progress, with strange storytelling conveying a compromising underwriting to the proceedings that takes longer than expected to get into the story. While there are many reasons for this reality, the greatest of them feels resonating in the lack of characterization, which makes it difficult to invest in the plights of any of the characters from the word go. Crowe is certainly most fortunate in this aspect, but he’s not exactly an on-the-ground character, and when compared to Hemsworth or Ventimiglia, who have to work overtime in the appeal of their constructs, Crowe feels like the deepest character ever created for film, even if having to rely on compromising comedy to get his point across. On that aspect, the film, while occasionally pleasant in its levity against the backdrop of wartime carnage, does try a little too hard to be funny, which only convolutes the tonal consistencies of the movie towards occasionally feeling like an entirely different film all together. For instance, the dialogue deviates between code talk so macho and and downright ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh, even during times when that wasn’t the intention, and with an ending that involves Crowe’s character being asked if he knows how to twerk for the wedding of another co-worker, doesn’t exactly end this film on the honorable note that it should’ve had for the extent of its mission. This honestly isn’t surprising, however, as the film cares about the mission of its solidiers about as much as it does the motivation of their actions, and with the exception of a forgettable line of exposition expressed during the film’s opening ten minutes, you rarely hear anything about their objective, until the moment when it absolutely deems it necessary to include them, with refreshingly obvious narration that spells things out forcefully so I could remember why we were here in the first place. The conflict is even side-swapped for a rescue mission involving one of the other solidiers, which while lacking in monumental stakes for the mission at hand, does feel more justifiable than an extraction mission against a villain who I still can’t remember his name, if the movie even ever said it in the first place. This villain is as forgettable and cliche’d as every foreign terrorist in movies like these, and the script cares so much about him that they shelve him in obscurity until the film’s climax, where they uncover him just long enough to remind audiences that there was a purpose to all of this side-tracking in the first place. Finally, and most rewarding to me personally, are continuity issues so obvious and clumsy that they make it difficult to take this movie seriously, even from a technical perspective. Throughout the course of this film, Crowe’s character and his rival superior watch a duo of college basketball games, with the first involving Ohio State, and the second involving Tennessee. Fine enough as a character insight towards each alma mater obsessions, but made jarring when the teams on the screen don’t match the teams echoed in dialogue, where Ohio State is mentioned to lose to V.C.U in the first round of March Madness, but is shown on TV losing to Duke in a regular season game. I know this because top 25 rankings are shown by the school names, instead of tournament rankings that range from numbers 1-16. Aside from this, it’s laughable even from a logical perspective, where the Tennessee game somehow lasts two full days in comparison to Hemsworth’s stranding in Guantanamo. This has to be the record for the longest basketball game ever recorded, but is only half the problem when compared to it speeding up to be the quickest basketball game ever, once it shows fifteen minutes remaining in the game’s second half, before saying the game is over literally two scenes later. So the pacing of just a fictional basketball game that matters dick to the actual film, beyond a tryst between characters, becomes the most interesting thing within the film, and while that might not be an issue to people who grade a film purely on entertainment value, it’s a glaring example of dropping the ball on respecting audience intelligence, with some of the worst continuity issues that I have seen in a film, maybe ever.

“Land of Bad” holds its own against flailing opposition with uniquely crafted intense action sequences but can’t overcome its inability towards crafting a gripping story or characters to play into the overhanging stakes, which are practically non-existent. While Hemsworth and Crowe lead the charge with a duo of charismatic turns, the film surrounding them almost entirely underscores their efforts, resulting in a blandly manufactured but descriptive title that highlights truth in advertising for a change.

My Grade: 5/10 or D+

4 thoughts on “Land of Bad

  1. Wow, I was expecting this one to be better, but it sounds like the continuity issues are just too much to overcome. I really enjoy Hemsworth and Crowe, and I like how they play a rookie and a veteran, so they have different levels of experience to draw from. I have never been a big fan of war films, and this one doesn’t look like it is going to change my mind on the genre, looking forward to seeing that Tennessee game play out this march! lol

  2. Unlike with Origin where I was just busy, I genuinely just avoided this mystery movie since I no longer trust them especially since they haven’t been giving as many hints out. It just feels like they’ve become an outlet to release underwhelming or straight up bad movies to get a quick buck. This one in particular looks like a generic action film and while the set-pieces do sound riveting, the lack of a good story and characterization just don’t make it sound appealing. At least your review gets a lot of attention since it’s probably one of the few available for the film. Great work!

  3. “ resulting in a blandly manufactured but descriptive title ” – BURN! It’s always a joy to see you get sassy for these films that miss the mark. I feel like Russell Crowe needs a better agent. Looks like he’s saying yes to too many things that don’t service him well. While the cast and action sound promising, I always need a little more than that. Sounds like this could satisfy a craving for action fans that are here for a fun time not a dramatic time but nothing beyond that! Your analysis of the fictional basketball game logic cracked me up. Wonderful review – happy it’s getting a lot of attention!

  4. I watched this about a week ago, and found it to be ok. Definitely not on the top of any list but not so horrible I was upset for watching it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *