Brothers face off in in­ept war story

Los Angeles Times - - AT THE MOVIES - — Michael Recht­shaf­fen

A ris­i­ble mis­fire of a con­tem­po­rary war drama, the low-budget “Un­fallen” stands as an epic fail on all fronts.

The ham-fisted saga, codi­rected by Josh Hod­gins and the sin­gle-named Dante, be­gins in early ’90s Ta­jik­istan (cour­tesy of Wash­ing­ton state), where a pair of 7-year-old twin brothers are left or­phaned by civil war, re­sult­ing in one of them be­ing adopted by a Den­ver cou­ple.

Fast-for­ward a decade, with grown-up, stone-faced Rus­tam (the film’s writer, James Nasimi) join­ing the U.S. Army and ship­ping off to Afghanistan, where he ul­ti­mately comes up against his long-lost Tal­ibantrained brother, Suhrob (also Nasimi), dis­cov­er­ing that the two still share fun­da­men­tals aside from a pair of ridicu­lous beards.

Only slightly more con­vinc­ing are the wob­bly Mid­dle East­ern ac­cents that keep sur­ren­der­ing to their ob­vi­ous Amer­i­can ori­gins and the scenes with Michael Mad­sen as a cor­rupt U.S. gen­eral, which ap­pear to have been air-dropped into the pro­duc­tion at a later time and place.

Mad­sen’s un­der­stand­able de­sire to get in and out of this tech­ni­cally in­ept mess as ex­pe­di­ently as pos­si­ble is ev­i­dently shared by James Hong (the af­fec­tion­ately iras­ci­ble voice of Mr. Ping in the “Kung Fu Panda” movies), whose sim­i­larly top-billed pres­ence amounts to mere min­utes seated be­hind a desk.

Hope­fully his chair was more com­fort­able than the film’s painfully wooden di­a­logue.

“Un­fallen.” Not rated. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 37 min­utes. Play­ing: Arena Cinelounge Sun­set, Hol­ly­wood.

In­die Rights

DANTE, left, Ryan Poole and Michael Mad­sen in a drama in which twin brothers turn en­e­mies.

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