In the early days of May, 2020, while everyone is still quarantined because of an asshole virus, the search for "new" movie releases for the week didn't exactly offer great results. There's some well-known stuff coming that I've already watched and reviewed like 'The Invisible Man', but the presence of Jeffrey Dean Morgan lead me in this direction.
I am, however, sad to say that I probably missed out on something amazing with a title like 'Samurai Marathon'. Instead, I settled for this most simplistic of stories which really plays out more like a straight-to-TV Sunday afternoon movie (but with swearing and a touch of violence). It's classified as an action drama, according to IMDb, but I'l be the first to tell you that there's next to no action to be had here. This is really just another story about a broken father/son relationship because the Dad's a bit of a deadbeat.
It opens by showing us that father, Cal McCarthy (Morgan) has taught his son, Dallas (Julian Feder) the ins and outs of playing pool like a pro. Together, they play at a local pub and win some cash, but this upsets Gina; Cal's wife and Dallas' mother (Julie Ann Emery). Cal and Gina have a fight, and Cal takes off, leaving a note that he won't be back. An upset Dallas finds the note and slips out of the house, right under his mother's nose to go searching for his father.
By chance, Dallas meets Joe Haley (David Strathairn) after a confrontation with some pool hustlers. Joe takes Dallas into his care and drives him on a journey to try to find his Dad. Of course, Dallas' situation also brings up some of Joe's own shady past that he's been running from for quite some time. It's another case of two unlikely friends learning a thing or two from each other, and it's nothing that particularly begs to be seen.
Everything about this movie is average at best, and while it's not really what I'd call a bad movie, there's nothing here to totally capture your attention and rope you in. For Morgan fans, you should probably also know that he's really not in it that much. Most of the movie has to do with the developing friendship between Joe and Dallas. Joe is interesting enough to keep some attention, being an old guy with incredible reflexes and a mysterious past. But Dallas... Dallas was a pain in the ass.
I don't usually go off on a character, but this kid really stuck into my side like some irritating thorn. He is always angry and lashing out, being a jerk to people who are trying to be nice, and everything he says - EVERYTHING - is with this weird wimper like he's constantly on the verge of crying. You cannot understand what this kid says half the time, because he mumbles everything. In such a case, I'm more inclined to blame the director for a bad performance. But just to put it out there, I think 'Episode II' Anakin Skywalker is, in fact, much more tolerable than this guy. At the very least, we could understand him.
Anyway, painful performances aside, as I mentioned before, this one is incredibly basic. If you have an hour and a half to spare, it wouldn't hurt to check out, but I dunno how much attention it deserves. It's nothing that hasn't really been seen before, and the delivery of everything isn't altogether likable. The most interesting character here probably IS Cal, with Morgan pulling off a pretty all-out performance and we just don't see that much of him. My humble opinion; again, not altogether bad, but with a lack of interesting plot points and the main character's entire performance, it's just not all that worth it in the long run. It's almost a 3, but I'm sorry to say that the kid's attitude leaves me with little to care about.