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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 15, 2023



‘SAVAGE SALVATION’ is an action-thriller directed by Randall Emmett who started as a producer of B action flicks like “Out of Death”, "Force of Nature” and “Survive the Game” that co-started has been action stars like Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson to give them some star value. 

He became a director in 2021 in “Midnight in the Switchgrass” starring Megan Fox with Bruce Willis as cops who track down a serial killer in Florida. 

We watch these films to while away the time, often pressing the forward button when we get bored to hasten the pacing.  

Emmett now directs “Savage Salvation” with respected actors Robert de Niro and John Malkovich in the cast to give it some class. 

But the real lead actor is Jack Huston, the British actor who played “Ben Hur” in the remake and has starred in several acclaimed mini-series. 

Huston plays Shelby John, a drug addict just like his inamorata, Ruby Red (Willa Fitzgerald). 

He’s very much in love and when he proposes marriage to his girlfriend, they both promise to go straight, leave their life as junkies and start a brand new life together as clean and sober.  

They both suffer and endure their withdrawal symptons together.

Ruby’s family is religious, with her father (Malkovich), so thankful for their coming wedding.  

Shelby tells their drug dealer, Elvis (Swen Temmel), not to sell them anymore drugs, but he isn’t ready to let go of Ruby Red and gives her the chance to return to the dark side by offering her heroine.  

Ruby Red dies of drug overdose and Shelby is so devastated when he discovers her one morning dead on their rocking chair. 

Shelby dresses up his bride in the wedding gown she’s supposed to wear when they face the altar. 

He carries her dead body to the river where baptisms are being held and asks the preacher to marry them even if she’s already gone.  

Then, it’s time for revenge. Shelby is determined to find out who is the top boss in the drug supply chain in his determination to destroy the head of the octopus in this deadly drug-pushing syndicate. 

He starts with Elvis who, at first, is defiant, so it’s time for some graphic violence to torture him so he’d name names. 

He finds out from Elvis who are the others drug traffickers involved and so he arms himself to the teeth with guns and grenades like Rambo. 

He is now more than ready to engage in more scenes of blazing guns and glory. There’s really nothing like extreme violence to satisfy one’s seething rage for vengeance.  

Robert de Niro plays the town’s law enforcer, Sheriff Church, who tries to restrain Shelby in his path of destruction, although you can feel that he is tacitly approving of Shelby’s running amok as he has had his own personal loss due to the traffickers. 

He does give some gravitas to this B movie but he obviously did it just for the money.

If you like no-frills action-thrillers where the good guy goes on a killing spree to blow away bad guys, this one is right up your alley. 

To give it a semblance of seriousness, Emmett injects some faith-based elements into the rage-filled proceedings.  

The spiritual song “Amazing Grace” is heard while Shelby goes on a slow-motion action rampage where he shoots to death various bad guys.  

The Bible is quoted liberally, with one verse, “Blessed are the peacekeepers for they are the sons of God”, quoted to justify a murderous sequence with overtones of guilt and atonement.  

The scenes with the preacher involving baptism in the river are apparently used to broaden the movie’s appeal and make it more available to other markets. 

But it comes out more as a case of pandering to people of faith who we doubt would buy it as it looks so pretentious.  

In all fairness to Jack Huston, he is quite believable in the role of the grieving groom whose objective is to put a full stop on the operations of the opioid syndicate destroying the lives of so many people in their town.  

The movie obviously tries to deliver a valid statement about the decay of America due to rampant drugs and the power of God to counter it, but it doesn’t know how to put it across convincingly. 

And oh, before we forget, the movie has a twist in its climax that will surely shock you as it demonstrates the hypocrisy of some people who call themselves holy.