Liam Hemsworth and Luke Hemsworth walking in the jungle with their guns in Land of Bad | Agents of Fandom

‘Land of Bad’ Is High-Octane Action in Its Finest Form

2024’s best action movie yet is filled with visceral violence and hilarious chemistry between Russell Crowe and Liam Hemsworth.

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Land of Bad.

The military action genre is nothing new to cinema. From Best Picture winners like The Hurt Locker to Academy Award-nominated features like Zero Dark Thirty to Netflix stalwarts like Extraction and Triple Frontier, they’ve been around the block a time or two. The films are fierce and acute in depictions of war and darkly in their visceral violence. Land of Bad is no different and immediately deserves to be in the same sentence as the iconic films above.

Kinney (Liam Hemsworth) is a Sargeant who can’t decide between Fruit Loops or Frosted Flakes for breakfast. He isn’t HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) certified but that doesn’t matter when he gets dragged along on a covert rescue mission in the Philippines. He is undoubtedly the most timid among his new group of tactical partners — Sugar (Milo Ventimiglia), Bishop (Ricky Whittle), and Abel (Luke Hemsworth) — evidenced by his repeated breaking of the unnerving silence of the helicopter ride by asking about tactical gear and pictures of families in helmets; he’s unsure about the mission that lies ahead.

On the other side of the globe at the Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas is Reaper (Russell Crowe), a seasoned drone operator who is on his fourth wife and drinks caffeinated beverages in all shapes and sizes like their water. “Who took my shit?!” is one of the first lines of dialogue out of his burly mouth, berating the on-base crew who are invested in the March Madness game on the TV at the expense of knowing where Reaper’s coffee pods went.

He is a man of efficiency. And a man who has to have things his way (which is probably why any of his three previous wives didn’t stick around). As he gears up for his regular operative shift behind the swarm of brightly lit computer monitors with his partner, Sergeant Nia Branson (Chika Ikogwe), he connects with Kinney as his eyes and ears in the sky.

‘Land of Bad’ Review: A Visceral, Fiery Military Action Thriller Done Right

The cast of land of bad with military uniforms and rifles standing on a beach | Agents of Fandom
Real-life brothers Liam Hemsworth and Luke Hemsworth team up on their violent adventure through the jungle in Land of Bad. Image Credit: The Avenue Entertainment.

All is well until it isn’t. The radio communication between Reaper and Kinney cuts in and out, the drone Reaper is operating above the dense jungles of the Philippines runs out of missiles, and a seemingly standard rescue op by Kinney and his squadron turns into a mission gone wrong when the enemies spot them. The target they are seeking for rescue is quickly assassinated as the enemies turn their attention, and mass amounts of firepower, to Kinney and his team.

From here on out, the movie is a full-send adrenaline rush until the credits roll some 90 minutes later. While Land of Bad doesn’t create a new movie genre by any means — it essentially feels like a blend of Zero Dark Thirty, the Extraction franchise, and bits of Zack Snyder‘s infamous slo-mo addiction blended together — it does manage to find its own tone amongst some of the true heavy hitters of the hardcore military action flicks.

While Kinney and Reaper are nearly 7,500 miles apart, they couldn’t be closer together. As Kinney flees to safety and begins working with Reaper on executing a rescue mission, they find solace in realizing both grew up in essentially the same city and root for the same basketball team in the March Madness tournament.

Reaper’s shift comes to an end, and he fights back against his supervising officer, insisting he stay in his chair until the mission is complete. He’s locked in; he and Kinney share a special bond.

Russell Crowe and Liam Hemsworth Are the Match We Never Knew We Needed

Liam Hemsworth and Russell Crowe in a Land of Bad promo poster I Agents of Fandom
Liam Hemsworth and Russell Crowe defy expectations and look incredibly cool while being darkly funny in Land of Bad. Image Credit: The Avenue Entertainment.

The film clearly stands its ground as a quick-paced, fiery journey that doesn’t stray far from its core mission of being a badass action movie. Russell Crowe brings his special sauce to the script, rattling off one-liners and telling his less-than-efficient co-workers to eat a bag of dicks when things aren’t up to his standard. Surprisingly comedic and dynamic in its editing of multi-location characters, Land of Bad is a swift entry into the “I just want to watch a damn good action flick tonight” genre of movie watching.

War — while at its darkest and grittiest a face-to-face affair — is nowadays a tech-driven endeavor. Land of Bad does a thoughtful job of traversing both evolutionary ideas, a tried and true juxtaposition that is at the core of so many historic war movies. With grisly, veracious visuals splattered throughout and an enjoyable dynamic between Reaper and Kinney, the film is a wickedly fun watch that might even encourage you to grab a bowl of Frosted Flakes or Fruit Loops yourself and watch it again and again.

Land of Bad is playing in theaters nationwide starting February 16. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for the latest entertainment news, reviews, and interviews.

4.0 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • The violence isn't afraid to be grisly, grimy, and dark.
  • Fiery pace makes the action stakes truly gripping.
  • Russell Crowe riffling off one-liners like nobody's business.

The Bad

  • A super neat, all-is-well type ending that feels tonally defiant to the film.
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