Written and directed by Derek Presley, “Red Stone” explores the dynamic between Motley Adams (Dash Melrose) and Boon (Neal McDonough). Motley is witness to his brother’s murder by a crime lord who hires Boon, a hitman, to track Motley down and kill him. But Boon is hit by his conscience as he finds himself in the same situation as Motley. Boon too has lost his brother. And the “Red Stone” is the pendulum that swings from one end of the dynamic to the other, culminating in a final showdown.
Motley Adams is on the run after being a witness to his brother Danny’s murder. Danny had stolen a ruby stone from his last heist but hid it for his own purposes. His plan was foiled and he was killed for betraying his boss, crime lord Jed Haywood (Michael Cudlitz). Motley saw this and managed to escape. When he finds out about Motley, he hires a hitman, Boon (Neal McDonough), whose brother had died in an accident, to track him down and kill him. With only 10 hours left, Boon must find and kill Motley while trying to fight his newly discovered conscience.
Red Stone is fast-paced but is offset by its repetition. Though the movie fails to catch the viewers off-guard, it does manage to keep things interesting with some tension and even fewer fight scenes, and despite being unable to connect at an emotional level, Red Stone will prevent you from leaving it midway.
The two main characters, Motley and Boon, share very similar melancholy and pain. Both Motley and Boon lose their brothers, i.e., Danny and Dean, respectively. Dean and his wife, Nancy, died in a car accident along with their two children. By the end of the movie, one can assume that it was he who killed them as a part of one of his contracts. Or they may have actually died in an accident for real. In the former scenario, his reluctance comes out of guilt. In the second scenario, it comes out of his pain.
Boon is forced to attend the funeral on the same evening he is ordered to kill Motley. His palpable reluctance to undertake this mission, evident throughout the movie, is based on two things. One was his personal loss. Two, the fact that the kid he is about to kill has also been through the same loss. However, all this does not shake him as a hitman, which is evident when a person is killed, even when it is against his will. The change in Boon’s state-of-mind is shown when Hutch kills Danny’s girlfriend in front of him, something he didn’t intend on doing yet settles down anyway; and when he makes up his mind to save Motley, even if it means killing his contractor friend Haywood. In his final act, he sheds his hitman skin only to fall at his brother’s grave.
Neal McDonough, who has a long list of great performances to his name, unfortunately, sleepwalks in Red Stone. He is unable to portray grief, which was the main aspect of his character. However, he does manage to deliver the hitman-vibe with his unmoved expressions and attitude.
Dash Melrose as Motley Boon didn’t have much to do with his role. Motley’s relationship with his brother Danny was, as he says in the film, more like a father-son relationship. With Danny being a gangster, Motley must have been subjected to a similar lifestyle, something which is reflected in his attitude. This is seen when he talks to his store’s manager and the police officer. And it is the lifestyle too that gives him the courage to not break down and stay alive. Despite knowing that he has people looking to kill him, he trusts Booth, a hitman sent to kill him, with his life. That he disowns the ruby that Boon gave him to start a new life with his mom is proof that he doesn’t want to become like his brother. He will leave anything that even remotely connects to his present lifestyle behind and pursue a better life. The movie comes full circle too, as we see that Motley’s mother is the very same lady who we first saw in the same care facility wherein Boon’s mother is admitted.
To speak objectively, the coin of fate gets flipped for Motley and Boon from the start to the finish of the movie. In the beginning, the former was pretty unmoved by the latter’s absence. On the other hand, Motley was at a loss for words after his brother’s death. In the end, Boon breathes his last at his brother’s grave while Motley runs off the path that his brother had paved for him.
Red Stone doesn’t have much for the two leads, and yet it seems that they could have done better. The movie doesn’t offer time for a relationship to build between the two, but keeping in mind that the movie is low-budget, all we saw was all that could be afforded in that span of runtime. In terms of action, the movie has otherwise-boring gunshots, which the editing takes care of.
Overall, “Red Stone” is a one-time watch, but whether you would suggest it to your friend is your call.
‘Red Stone’ is a 2021 Crime Drama film written and directed by Derek Presley.