I went to see the new movie from the guys at Ranger Up and Article 15 last night, Range 15 but before I get in to the review, I’ve got to go a bit old man on something.
I don’t go to movie theaters for movies very often. I’ve got a great drive-in theater located close by that my wife and I love going to so it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a theater. Can we talk about concessions? $5.85 for a soda? Seriously? When the teenage girl told me how much the drink cost I actually said, “are you kidding?”
I got the typical teenage girl eye-roll from her that is my usual interaction with women of any age, and I’m sure she had already told her followers on Snapchat or YikYak or whatever the kids are doing these days about the old man complaining about drink prices. Damn though. No wonder movie theaters are suffering.
Ok rant over. Let’s get to the Range 15 review.
Let me start off with some honest talk. I went in to this movie with very low expectations. Most of us in the military and veteran community have been aware of this project since they first announced it last year and everyone has been anxiously awaiting the release of the movie.
My expectations were low because it was being hyped as a movie made by veterans for veterans without any help from the Hollywood community. I’m very cynical so my thought about that was it would be an excuse to be terrible. If anyone pointed out that the movie was bad, they would have an easy response ready – “it’s for veterans bro, you wouldn’t understand.”
Well. I was wrong.
I was very impressed by Range 15. To be clear, it is definitely not going to win an Oscar or be a big mainstream hit, but that is not what they were trying to do when they set out to make this movie. It will, and should, be a big hit in the military and veteran community. It is most definitely the most military and veteran-centric movie I’ve ever seen.
Mat has a bright future ahead of him in acting. He already has made a name for himself in the military and veteran community from Article 15 Clothing and for his videos at MBest11x on YouTube where he has nearly 450,000 subscribers and millions of video views. Mat is the clear star of Range 15. His timing is perfect, his delivery is on point, he’s charming, he’s good looking, he’s got it all. If you liked Ryan Reynolds’ performance in Deadpool, you will really enjoy Mat in Range 15. Mat is going to be a big star.
Range 15 is the brainchild of the guys behind Ranger Up, Article 15, Black Rifle Coffee, and Leadslingers Whiskey (and more I’m sure, forgive me if I left anyone out). You can see immediately from the interactions on the screen that these guys not only work together, but they are all friends and their group is very close knit. It felt like you were watching the guys in your own platoon joke around with each other and harass each other in ways that only men and women who have served together will understand. The interactions between the guys in the movie was my favorite part of the movie. I can see this group doing more movies together because they’ve got a great core to work with and when you have that, the setting and story are secondary. We are invested in what they are doing and want to see more.
When they say that this movie is going to be for the military and for veterans, the humor is what they are talking about. The Hollywood community will definitely take a negative view of the humor in this movie because it is definitely not politically correct. That is exactly the kind of humor that military members and veterans understand. At one point in the movie (I am not going to spoil anything), Rocco is walking by a zombie played by a wounded veteran who is on two prosthetic legs and he just knocks him over. The theater I was in erupted with laughter at the scene. Civilians would have no doubt gasped at seeing a disabled veteran treated so rudely but we know the humor behind it and it was pretty damn funny. There are so many other scenes with humor like this that I can’t even talk about in public but trust me, you will laugh your ass off.
Nick Palmisciano was one of the writers on this movie and he definitely killed it. The dialog and humor are clearly from someone who has spent a lot of time training and deployed living in close quarters with others over a long period of time. They are planning on releasing a feature length documentary about the making of Range 15 but I hope that they aren’t ending there. I am looking forward to the next movie project these guys do and if Palmisciano is on the writing team, we can expect more of the same and that is a good thing.
I don’t really have anything bad to point out about Range 15. It’s certainly not the greatest movie ever made but that wasn’t the point of the movie. They were never trying to make the greatest movie ever made. They wanted to make something that was for the military and veteran community and they have definitely accomplished their mission.
Overall I was very impressed with Range 15. I do not want to spoil anything for you because if you can, you should get out and see this movie. If you are serving or have served, you will love the humor. It will take you back to the good times you had with the people in your unit and will remind you of what the best parts of serving our country were.
I highly recommend Range 15 and applaud Mat Best, Nick Palmisciano, Vincent “Rocco” Vargas, Jarred Taylor, and the rest of the guys involved in this project. It was an incredible undertaking that many people doubted they would be able to complete. They have proved the doubters wrong and put out something they should all be proud of.
If you are unfamiliar with Range 15, here is the trailer for the movie. This is just a small taste of what is in store for you if you get a chance to see this movie.
Range 15 Trailer
Oh and FYI, if you see the movie, don’t leave after it’s over. There is additional material after the credits that is well worth sticking around for.