Hero Wanted is a 2008 action film and crime drama, directed by Brian Smrz and starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., Ray Liotta, and Norman Reedus. The film was released direct-to-video on April 29, 2008, and included a downloadable Digital Copy (PC and/or PSP) version of the disc with studio-imposed restrictions (and was one of the first DVDs to offer this now commonplace feature). The film was shot entirely in Sofia, Bulgaria in the spring of 2007 and premiered on January 17, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.
Liam Case (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is a garbage collector and a hero. Several years before, he rescued a little girl from a flaming car wreck. He did this at great risk to his own life and earned a hideous scar for his efforts. But fame often comes and goes in the proverbial "fifteen minutes", and Liam's is no exception.
Lost and alone, Liam has turned to alcohol for solace. After stalking a bank teller who reminds him of his deceased wife, he arranges a fake bank robbery so that he can intervene and appear heroic all over again. The crooks, however, are unwilling to rob a bank without absconding with the money, and Liam is therefore betrayed. Waking in the hospital, he vows to put things right by seeking vengeance against the thieves that left the bank teller in a coma and left him for dead. Unfortunately for him, Detective Terry Subcott (Ray Liotta) is viewing him as the prime suspect in several brutal vigilante killings.
In a twisty plot structured in non-linear fashion, Liam races against the clock to enact his own form of private justice, battling a gang of vicious criminals dominated by Derek (Tommy Flanagan) and the Brothers McGraw (Kim Coates and Steven Kozlowski), all while dodging the authorities hot on his trail.
Norman Reedus also stars as Swain, Liam's conflicted former friend and co-worker. Cosmo Jackson (Ben Cross), who served in Vietnam with Liam's dead father, provides support for Liam as a surrogate father. Jean Smart, fills the role of the grief-stricken mother of the comatose bank teller. She initially holds Liam in high regard for his heroic acts and seeks him out for personal solace. As the plot rolls out, she later feels betrayed by his less than heroic actions.
Relative newcomers Gary Cairns II and Sammi Hanratty play Gill and Marley, respectively. Gill is a somewhat reluctant criminal and Marley portrays the little girl rescued from the burning wreck.
The final "gunfight" scene accentuates Smrz's focus on making a modern day Western.
* Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Liam Case
* Ray Liotta as Detective Terry Subcott
* Norman Reedus as Swain
* Tommy Flanagan as Derek
* Jean Smart as Melanie McQueen
* Kim Coates as Skinner McGraw
* Ben Cross as Cosmo Jackson
* Gary Cairns II as Gill
* Steven Kozlowski as Lynch McGraw
* Sammi Hanratty as Marley Singer
* Christa Campbell as Kayla McQueen
* Paul Sampson as Gordy McGraw
* Todd Jensen as Detective Wallace MacTee
* Nathan Bautista as The Door Dude
* Lisa Dunne as Marley's Mother
* Amy Davis as Staci the Waitress
* Mike Straub uncredited as Scrub
* Shero Rauf as Razor Room Dancer
Gritty subject matter, violent imagery, and a non-linear plot has split critics in their opinion of the film.
Donald Liebenson of Amazon.com was positive in his review of the film, stating that " Gooding indelibly captures Liam's bald desperation (his character’s short-lived glory and downward spiral echoes his own misguided film career)" and calls it his "best starring performance since Radio." He goes on to praise director Brian Smrz by saying that "the film's punishing fight scenes deliver the down and dirty goods."
Reel Film Reviews reflects the contrary opinion, stating that it's "slightly better than the majority of its similarly-themed brethren" but adding that "it inevitably comes off as yet another ineffective actioner that has direct-to-video written all over it" despite the fact that it "admittedly does possess a fairly decent twist at around the one-hour mark." Nonetheless, according to the review, "There's ultimately little doubt that it's the rampantly silly vibe that cements Hero Wanted's downfall, however, and it certainly goes without saying that such talented performers as Gooding Jr, Ray Liotta, and Jean Smart are consequently left floundering."
"The hero becomes the hunted." (United States)
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." (Europe)
"Heroes don't go by the law." (Promotional)
Like other revenge-driven films released in 2007 and 2008 (see The Brave One, Death Sentence, et al.), Hero Wanted initially met with mixed reviews by critics, but went on to become extremely successful regardless of this fact. In its first week of release, it placed tenth in top DVD rentals, grossing nearly four million dollars in rentals alone, and an extra million in sales. A Blu-ray version of the film is available only in some European territories.
Hero Wanted first aired on network television on BET on July 23, 2009.
The rock band "One Less Reason" contributed the signature song, entitled "A Day To Be Alone," which plays during the film's end credit sequence.
"Petey's Blues", by Peter Neff, plays during a scene of confliction involving Swain as he thinks on the porch of his house.
"Blue Dreams," performed by D. DIFonzo and Scott P. Schreer (also used in the film "Crash"), plays during the finale of the film when Liam approaches the hospital.
ReferencesThis text has been derived from Hero Wanted on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0