Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Dave (Bill Elverman), Jeff (Richard DeGuilio), Paul (Joey Lanai), Mark (Eric Dean) and Steve (Aaron Hawk) are longtime friends who are heading out to parts unknown… parts that I know will probably have lousy cell phone reception… to enjoy a little R&R, do a little fishing and get away from those ball and chains. It’s all good. Some of the friends are a little shaky, Mark puts the capital W in the word whine, and Paul might be a tad bit racist… I mean my man used the word ‘Spook’ which is an old school racial slur if ever there was one. But it’s cool because at least we have Dave, looking a little bit like NFL quarterback Carson Palmer, which means he is under control and we can count on him to lead this crew of misfits to wherever they need to be. Unfortunately we also have Jeff, a liberal type who seems to care about people. So when Jeff saw the car on the side of the road, his liberalness made him want to check it out to make sure everybody was okay. The racist was none too happy about this, and while I’m generally not down with racists, I have to admit that I was kind of on his side on this one. So our heroes get out of the SUV to check out the situation. Considering the name of the movie is ‘Target Practice’, do we really need to tell you what happens next?

Now our heroes… at least the ones who didn’t get capped from the unseen gunmen hiding in the woods… are on the run, but from what? In the distance they hear some voices and these voices let us know that this was no hunting accident or anything so benign as that because these men intend to do grave harm to our heroes once they track them down.

Priority number one, stay alive. Easier said than done of course considering one of the guys is sporting a bullet wound to the shoulder and is on the verge of bleeding out, and these people, whoever they are, seem to be everywhere. The racist, being a resourceful kind of guy, has lucked up and gotten himself a prisoner in Ron the CIA agent (Solomon Hoillett), at least he claims to be a CIA agent but Ron is a Black guy

and Paul is a racist so Paul is a little slow to believe him. That is until Ron proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that he is not on the side of these people, who according to Ron are a home grown terrorist network training for the next Jihad. Now Ron the CIA agent and Paul the Racist have to go all Defiant Ones on us to try to survive this seemingly impossible situation, and don’t forget that on the other side of the woods we have another couple of survivors attempting to do the same.

Simple enough, and it was all fairly straightforward until the X-Factor (Eltony Williams) showed up. Who is this guy? Well, we can’t really tell you all of that because that would be a spoiler, but his appearance complicates things just a little. Or, depending how you look at it, his appearance un-complicates things since there are fewer folks to deal with once this X-Factor shows up on the scene.

In the middle of nowhere and with crap cell phone reception, three urbanites and an alleged CIA agent must find a way to survive against highly trained and highly skilled terrorist… or freedom fighters, depending on how you look at it… who are armed to the teeth and perpetually pissed off. Good luck with that.

Well that was a pleasant surprise. Directed by Richmond Riedel, ‘Target Practice’ is one lean and mean nail biting, tension filled, anarchy laced action drama, and one that has a little something to say and a lot of people to kill in the process. Though ‘Target Practice’ is a lower budgeted affair, to the credit of the director the film doesn’t often betray itself as being as such, and secondly, once the initial bloodletting of our R&R campers shakes itself out, it’s pretty clear this is going to be a different kind of survival adventure. For starters our main character is a racist for goodness sakes. Admittedly, like most movie racists he eventually learns that being a racist is kind of silly and counterproductive… though I’m not sure that ever happens in real life, it does take some doing to make the main character in your movie a guy that freely uses the word ‘spook’ and apparently sees nothing wrong with that.

Most surprising about ‘Target Practice’ were the performances delivered by the cast of completely unknown actors that Riedel cast for his movie. At least unknown to me because I’m sure somebody somewhere knows who these cats are. While watching people getting shot in the head or stabbed in the neck is cool and all, it certainly helps having some characters in a movie that are able to develop some kind of personality to get the audience to care about their well-being. This is a survival movie, so if we don’t care if the guys survive or not, that’s a problem and this a problem that this cast of actors, due to some clever writing and some very solid performances was able to avoid. We particularly enjoyed the character played by Eltony Williams and what he brought to the table as far as action and the intensity he brought to his character. The kid has some action star potential.

I would say get on your Netflix account or whomever provides you with your VOD entertainment and check out ‘Target Practice’, but then you’ll miss out on the DVD extras featuring cast and crew interviews and the like which was almost as good as the movie itself. It’s always good to watch a plan that actually finds a way to comes together. You know it’s never been my place to tell you what or what not to watch, but do yourself a favor and give ‘Target Practice’ a shot. Ten times the entertainment for a tenth of the price. That’s a bargain where I come from.

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