Tag Archives: Paul Johansson

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Bad Hombres

by Brandon Thomas

Darkly funny neo-noirs hit my cinematic sweet spot more often than not. The satisfaction of laughing at outrageous bursts of violence or complex plans that go awry is second to none. And throughout these entertaining narratives are classic aesthetic tropes that give filmmakers the opportunity to lean into equally satisfying visuals.

While the plot of Bad Hombres never enters complex territory, the characters and genre beats are more than enough to make up for it. 

Felix (Diego Tinoco) has just arrived in the U.S. from Ecuador. Looking to send money home to his impoverished family, Felix and his cousin go to the local hardware store in the hopes that they can pick up work as day laborers. After his cousin is picked for a job but he isn’t, Felix is approached by a twitchy Australian (Luke Hemsworth, TV’s Westworld, Next Goal Wins) with an offer for an easy day’s work. Also on the job is gruff handyman Alfonso (Hemky Madera, Satanic Hispanics, Spider-Man: Homecoming).

Felix and Alfonso quickly realize the gig is more than basic labor after arriving to the job site to find several bodies and the Australian’s wounded partner (Paul Johansson, TV’s One Tree Hill).

Early on, Bad Hombres feels like it’s going to be your standard direct-to-streaming action thriller. The title alone doesn’t do much to dispel that initial gut reaction, either. However, once Hemsworth’s borderline lunatic character appears on screen, the dynamic shifts ever so slightly in favor of something a bit more interesting – and dare I say, chaotic. Director John Stalberg Jr. wisely paces himself and lets the crazy of Bad Hombres blossom naturally. 

While it’s fair to say that Bad Hombres is a lower budget film, that never really comes across on screen. Stalberg’s direction is methodical and focused with a strong emphasis on visual storytelling. Despite having moments of explosive action, the film mostly consists of scenes of people having conversations. Even in these more “mundane” moments, the film’s energy never drops.

Along with Stalberg’s direction, the other secret ingredient in Bad Hombres is the cast. Madera is especially notable as the unapproachable Alfonso. As the film progresses and the layers of Alfonso’s backstory is revealed, Madera’s performance becomes so much more nuanced and exciting.

Hemsworth is having a blast playing a murderous madman who likes to portray himself as more politically progressive than he probably is. Even the always reliable Thomas Jane (The Punisher, The Mist), Tyrese Gibson (Fast & the Furious series), and Nick Cassavettes (best known for directing The Notebook) pop up in supporting roles. 

Bad Hombres is a lean and mean bit of modern day neo-noir that manages to deliver well past its budget and defy expectations all at the same time.