Deceptive Life and Death

Bruce Von Stiers

Take a happy couple, throw in some bad guys, mix in an evil plan and you have the plot of a standard adventure thriller. These items are in the film Art of Deception. But there are a few added elements that make this a bit different than most films of this genre.

Art of Deception opens with a murder. Some guy breaks into Malcolm Hardwick's house. He is there to kill Hardwick. Despite pleading and an offer of a lot of money, both Hardwick and his wife are killed.

Then we meet Valentina and Joseph Markham. They are a fun-loving couple off for a getaway weekend. Joseph thinks that he's going to get a bonus, and maybe a promotion, due to the extra work he's done on a project. They have fun that weekend, even sparring in a gym boxing ring.

But Monday comes and Joseph is making the finishing touches on a nano chip. He isn't allowed in on the final testing but listens in. He finds out that there is a villainous plot that surrounds the nano chip, a virus and a antidote. And he finds out that, instead of a promotion, his boss wants to kill him.

This sets off a whole chain of events in which Joseph is running for his life. The bad guys capture Valentina and try to use her for leverage to reel Joseph back in.

But all is not exactly what it seems at first. The lab that Joseph works for is a covert unit of the CIA. And Joseph and Valentina aren't exactly who everyone thinks they are.

Going back to the boxing scene, you already know that Valentina and Joseph are both kind of tough and know how to fight. This comes in handy as Valentina has to try to fight off bad guys. And Joseph has more than his share of fighting. The fighting sequences were decently choreographed. But, unfortunately, sometimes you could tell that the punches and kicks were stopped just short of contact. There were some really good judo flips in a few of the fight scenes.

The plot element where Joseph's boss uses Valentina's kidnapping to get him to surrender is one that's used a lot in this type of film. But the film does take things a bit further as Valentina does kick some ass before being captured. And the film does allow for her to be tortured, something that sometimes alluded to, but not shown. In this film, we see a bit of the aftermath of Valentina being tortured.

To get Valentina back, and to stop Smith's diabolical plan, Joseph must use every resource available. That includes getting help from a hacker that knows who Joseph really is.

Richard Ryan is Joseph. He also directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay. Ryan has directed, produced and starred in a number of films, including One Night in China Town and Remington. In addition to co-writing the screenplay and directing the film, he also produced it along with Jackie Nova.

Jackie Nova is Valentina. She also starred in One Night in China Town and appeared in an episode of American Crime Story.

Leon Van Wass is Roland Smith, Joseph's boss. He's appeared in several feature films and starred in the sci-fi short film, Uncario. Craig Bruenell plays Stern, one of Smith's henchmen who had supposedly been a good friend of Joseph's. But he's not really a friend. Zac Titus plays Slater Badd, the killer from the first of the film, who later is the guy who tortures Valentina.

Other people appearing in the film are Anzu Lawson, Rich Paul, Andrew Miller, Keenan Johnston, Landall Goolsby and Mark Siversten. There is also Scott DuPont, Summer Still, Gabriel Caste, Jess Janzen, Nicholas Talone, Jerry Hansen, and Christopher Erickson.

The other person with screenwriter's credit for the film is Michael Marcelin. His previous screenwriting credits include Executor and Natural Demise.

The Director of Photography for the film is Vishal Solanki. He has been the cinematographer for several short films, including an in-depth look at the life of jazz musician Stanley Clarke.

The fight choreography for the film was done by Daniel Joo. He has done stunts in over fifteen films and acted in numerous films and has appeared in episodic television.

The Art of Deception is a film that takes a standard action thriller plot and adds a few twists. Joseph is the reluctant hero you find in this type of film. He'll do anything to save Valentina. But both Joseph and Valentina have a little bit extra that the bad guys don't know about. So, in the end, it's really bad news for the bad guys.

The Art of Deception is now available to watch for free on the streaming service Tubi. Here is the link to the film on Tubi.


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© 2024 Bruce E Von Stiers