Kandahar Movie Review

Kandahar movie poster

There’s a sub-genre of movies known as Gerard Butler action films, because they are action films that star Gerard Butler. They’re generally not top-tier quality, yet tend to exude a certain level of charm and entertainment value. And then there’s Kandahar, a decidedly non-Gerard Butler action film starring Gerard Butler.

A slow-boil of a thriller that patiently develops into something more explosive (despite beginning with a very large explosion), Kandahar is a modestly well-staged movie that never quite clicks into gear.

A little darker, less cheesy, and seemingly more intelligent than what Butler is known for, Kandahar, directed by Ric Roman Waugh and written by Mitchell LaFortune, wants to be both a methodical spy drama and riveting auctioneer–a blend it doesn’t fully master. Even still, the pieces are there, making the movie hardly a waste even if the sum is less than its parts.

Those expecting an action movie out of the gate will be surprised to discover that the first half of Kandahar is shockingly restrained, to a fault. A lot of stuff happens while simultaneously it feels like Waugh and LaFortune are just stirring filler around to set up something more exciting.

The action comes a little too late–the story still hadn’t grabbed me by the midway mark, its biggest problem–but the filmmakers deliver a decent amount of it. It’s not the greatest action in the world but it’s generally well done, with some impressive explosions to boot.

All in all, Kandahar is simply a middle-of-the-road affair–it wants to be something more prestigious than it is–but lacks the flair and charisma of other Gerard Butler action movies. As such, it’s stuck in no-man’s land: it’s arguably of higher quality than the fare he’s known for, but it’s less entertaining.

Kandahar has its merits, but there’s nothing here to make it a must-watch.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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