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Film Review

BACKTRACE (2021) Review

Dave reviews BACKTRACE, starring Sylvester Stallone, which comes to Amazon Prime Video tomorrow. Read his review…



Backtrace (Signature Entertainment)


A legend and 3 time academy award nominee Sylvester Stallone (Rocky/The Expendables) stars in this riveting crime drama thriller that hinges on memory, fury and betrayal. After suffering a brain injury from a bank heist gone wrong, MacDonald (Matthew Modine: Stranger Things) develops amnesia and is put into a prison psychiatric ward. Following his seventh year in evaluation he is coerced by an inmate (Ryan Guzman: Notorious) and a ward doctor to break out of prison and injected with a serum that forces him to relive the life he’s forgotten . MacDonald must now elude a local detective (Sylvester Stallone), a toughened FBI agent (Christopher McDonald: Ballers) and the drug’s dangerous side effects in order to recover the stolen money all while confronting his past.


Now when I see that certain actors are starring in a film I immediately take an interest. Stallone is definitely one of those actors, whether it being my love of action films or the longing for nostalgic memories, I normally enjoy watching Stallone’s films, and to be fair Backtrace is no different. The story of Backtrace is pretty normal action film fare, a bank heist gone wrong and big tough cop tasked to find the money and apprehend the criminals. Partner that with a load of guns then you’ve pretty much ticked all my action movie boxes .

Where Backtrace differs is in terms of the actual story itself. You have the main character, MacDonald, who is struggling with his amnesia, caused by a gunshot to the head in the failed escape from the bank heist. Using drugs, McDonald is forced to retrace and relive the lost memories to recover the lost money. As the story starts to flow you see MacDonald broken from jail by a gang, only for them to use him to find the elusive pot of gold. The way that director Brian Miller has cut the film through MacDonald’s POV, using jerky camerawork and blurry shots making for flashbacks, enhances the film more. You feel you are experiencing the flashbacks along with MacDonald and is a very good way to get the viewer immersed into the film.

As we see MacDonald’s life taking a rather painful turn, on the other side of town we have the introduction of a rugged cop chomping at the bit to track him down. Step up Mr Stallone. Now I’ll be truly honest here, I thought that Stallone’s part was small and under-used, I would’ve personally loved to have seen some sort of running battle between MacDonald and Stallone which we simply didn’t get. Instead Stallone seemed just to come and go. The film would’ve been equally as good without him. I felt he was used more like a big name cameo rather than as an integral part of the story.

The film loses itself a little in the middle with two very separate story streams with MacDonald going through his struggles and Stallone trying to catch him. Whilst also building up a story around Stallone and the FBI. In a strange sort of way the film comes into its own at the end with all characters coming together in one almighty battle with one very interesting twist (no spoilers) that brings a different meaning and feeling to the film. Although the gunfight at the end with Stallone is predictable it is very enjoyable to watch and probably Stallone’s best part in the film, all in all the ending was a very good way to tie up all the lose ends.


A decent overall film, personally didn’t make alot if difference having Stallone in the film and maybe it could have flowed better without him, but as a whole I enjoyed it as a on the sofa chill out action flick.


Signature Entertainment presents Backtrace on Amazon Prime 5th March 2021.

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