Rogue Elements Trailer Brings the Critical Drinker’s Books to the Screen

The Critical Drinker has become what he has beheld, but not in the bad way Eliot Ness meant. If you follow his channel, you’ll know that the Drinker is also the author of a series of action novels featuring former British soldier and current CIA operative Ryan Drake. And over the past year, he’s collaborated with a Canadian filmmaker named Travis Grant to make a Kickstarter-funded short film featuring Drake and some of his supporting players called Rogue Elements: A Ryan Drake Story. Rogue Elements is not a direct adaptation of any of the novels but a standalone Ryan Drake adventure, and now, it has a trailer, which you can see below:

I know I’m biased, but it looks great to me. I’ve read all the Ryan Drake novels, and I believe the short stories as well (at least a couple of them are included in some of the books), and they’re a lot of fun, with plenty of action and interesting characters with arcs that are rewarding to follow across the nine-book series. Even the main villain is three-dimensional and human, rather than just being there so the good guys have somebody to punch. I’ve been looking forward to Rogue Elements since the Drinker announced it, albeit with a little trepidation; as much as you want to like some of these independently-produced movies and other artistic endeavors, there’s always the fear that those making them are in over their heads and not ready for prime time. But the Rogue Elements trailer goes a long way towards reassuring me; it looks great, like an old-fashioned action movie that’s there to entertain. (Remember when we took that for granted?) It’s only quick snippets, but the actors seem much better than I thought they’d be, particularly Derek Moran, who plays Ryan Drake. Moran sounds natural when he delivers some of those action hero lines, but with the drop of grit that makes you believe he’s going to follow through on them. (“The only people dying today are those fuckers. All of ‘em.”)

Rogue Elements trailer

The action in the Rogue Elements trailer looks slick and hard, which makes sense if you look at the people involved and their inspirations on the Kickstarter page: two of the producers, Carson Manning and Max White,  were stuntmen on films like X-Men: Days of Future Past, Kick-Ass, Shoot-em-Up, Red, and plenty more; one of them even worked on Reacher. Stuntmen being more involved in these films is, I’m convinced, a big part of why action movies have gotten better over the last few years, and it’s a great portent for Rogue Elements that it’s got professionals like Manning and White on the team. And the movies (and one show) they list as models for the cinematography are The Rock, Goldeneye, The Bourne Identity, Mission: Impossible, and The Terminal List. Those all have terrific action sequences, and I like that they specify The Bourne Identity – the one before Paul Greengrass and his genre-destroying shaky cam took over. (And anyone who mentions The Rock is pretty much rounding third and headed home for me.) That shows in the trailer, with the action being decidedly classic in approach as opposed to the more frenetic modern style, even the good modern stuff. It screams “throwback,” and I’m glad for that. If it’s good and successful, maybe more Ryan Drake movies will be on the way… perhaps a feature-length series that can pick up where the books left off. That would be great because I’d especially like to see more of Anya, an important character who I suspect will only be seen in flashbacks in Rogue Elements, and I like even more than Ryan Drake. (I didn’t think she’d be in it at all till she showed up in the trailer.)

Rogue Elements trailer

It’s exciting and rewarding to see guys like the Critical Drinker try their hand at creating art, just like it is with Eric July’s Rippaverse. I look forward to Rogue Elements, and much more before the Drinker decides to go away now. If you want to bone up on the Ryan Drake universe before Rogue Elements, you can order the books here (just be sure to read them in order, which you can make sure of by clicking here).

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