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The Proposal (Movie Review)

The Proposal (Movie Review)
8 10

FULL DISCLOSURE: THE PROPOSAL was written and co-produced by John Fallon AKA The Arrow, the founder of this site. That spat and out of the way, let's get onto the review!

PLOT: When gun for hire and all around tough customer Mason Stone (Marc Natoli) takes his longtime girlfriend Emma (Kahli Williams) out on the town with the intent of popping the big question, he finds his proposal plans rudely interrupted by a group of highly skilled assassins on his tail. What's a man to do in this kind of situation? Only one thing: kick that ass!  

REVIEW: The action charged short film THE PROPOSAL just had its world premiere at the prestigious Sitges Film Festival in Catalonia Spain this past month, and recently I was sent an email inviting me to check out the retro action throwback. Obviously, I jumped at the chance as this short seemed like just my cup of blood. What did I think all said and done? Let's find out!

First off let me just say that I personally dig the absolute hell out of this short film's premise. You can read the full plot rundown above, but all the same, I'll reiterate it here. The movie follows "a gun-for-hire and all around tough customer Mason Stone (Marc Natoli) who takes his longtime girlfriend Emma (Kahli Williams) out on the town with the intent of popping the big question, he finds his proposal plans rudely interrupted by a group of highly skilled assassins on his tail. What's a man to do in this kind of situation? Only one thing: kick that ass!" Now I don't know about you, but regardless of who was behind the camera of this flick, that premise alone was enough to saddle me and my little lady up to the TV screen for some action and romance.

On top of that killer premise, the film is all about sporting an 80's action vibe and I dug the hell out of all the details. We've seen 80's action throwbacks here and there over the past few years (with Leigh Whannell's UPGRADE leading the pack in this humble reviewer's eyes) but I want more! Thank God, THE PROPOSAL knows (for the most part) just why those films were as badass, charming, and enduring as they were. This quick flick doesn't forget to sport a sense of humor, and the subgenre-required after-kill punchlines and puns are right on. Add to that composer Dmitri Golovko's score is 80's as f*ck and struck all the right nostalgia cords, and the movie handles it's 80's action vibe with ease and style to spare.

For a short action-comedy film, the acting here was also pretty spot-on. Marc Natoli as our main hero, Mason Stone, is just right for the part; brimming with muscle for days, the man handles the action with ease. But being that this is equal parts 80's action throwdown and light romantic comedy, Natoli also handles the charm, and comedic touches, with just the right amount of pizzazz. Add to that, the flick's lead actress Kahli Williams is beyond gorgeous and possesses more than her fair share of acting skills to boot, and the flick's main baddie, Christina Mclachlan, worked for me as well.

At a quick-as-hell 12 minutes, director Ben Whimpey's THE PROPOSAL never overstays it's welcome. Fallon's script is tight and moves fast, giving us all the required info needed on the couple and their situation, without slowing down on the ass-kicking. The film employs voice-over, which is never really my cup of tea (unless you're Scorsese and your film is called GOODFELLAS), but lead actor Natoli's Australian accent remedied all that and in the end, makes for a fun running commentary. One last shout-out is cinenatographer Juzzy Kane who keeps the camera moves fast, fluid, and kinetic.  

Now let's get into the film's holdups. The main issue that (kinda) plagues THE PROPOSAL is the action. And being that this is an action film this is kinda a big element. The action feels too slow and rehearsed. There's no danger to the fights. No immediacy. Speeding up the film a few frames would have helped this out. I know, I know, it's a cliche - but it would have worked gangbusters in this instance! Oh, well, it's a minor issue at best. Plus, the fights and action are choreographed in creative ways and the stuntmen involved aren't afraid to take a tumble. I appreciated the efforts, guys!

Another thing I missed - as this is an 80's throwback - was the lack of blood and gore on display. Sure there's blood here (including blown-out brains and bone-breaks), but a bit more of the red stuff would have made my day. In fact, there is one sequence where a henchman's head is crushed by repeated blows with a mega-dumbbell... and the kill is bloodless. I know, not every action movie on this here planet Earth needs to boast Paul Verhoven-level carnage, but still. A little more ROBOCOP and/or UPGRADE in THE PROPOSAL's blender would have made for a killer cocktail.

Overall, some mega-movie producer is bound to take notice of THE PROPOSAL soon and fast-track a feature. At least they should! Ben Whimpey's THE PROPOSAL is not only a fast and fun retro throwback action flick that dudes will dig up and down, but the romantic angle makes it a quality date movie as well. Yes, this is a rare 80's action movie throwdown that functions as both a solid night out with the boys, and as an equally solid date night at the movies. Think "What if MR. & MRS. SMITH had been produced by Cannon Films back in the 80's?" Sounds like fun to me! 

Source: AITH

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