Warhorse One (2023) Review



Johnny Strong once again proves he is one of the best action stars in the business with Warhorse One providing the right mixture of emotion, style, tension and explosive action.

Plot: A gunned down Navy SEAL Master Chief must guide a child to safety through a gauntlet of hostile Taliban insurgents and survive the brutal Afghanistan wilderness.

Review: A new film from Johnny Strong and William Kaufman is usually worth getting excited about and I’ve been looking forward to their latest collaboration entitled Warhorse One for some time.

This movie marks Johnny Strong’s directorial debut where he helms the picture alongside William Kaufman. With every action movie trying to emulate the John Wick franchise in terms of style and action these days it’s refreshing that Warhorse One goes for a more grounded approach with Johnny Strong perfectly cast as the stoic badass Master Chief Richard Mirko.

The story is straightforward enough with Mirko trapped behind enemy lines trying to rescue a young girl named Zoe (Athena Durner) from enemy insurgents. I can’t think of anyone more perfectly suited to play Mirko as Johnny Strong is always dedicated to his roles and is particularly believable as a haunted soldier.

At first, he is quite cold towards Zoe, and I loved their conversation about death where she is getting upset and he simply responds “it’s a part of life; it happens to us all” which I found strangely comforting.

The father/daughter bond slowly grows between them both and we get some nice character moments; Athene Durner is quite the find in her first role, making Zoe immediately appealing and sympathetic.

The only gripe I have with this movie is that I struggled to hear some of the dialogue at times with the music or background noise drowning it out. It doesn’t really matter as you can figure out what’s going on easily enough and this could almost work as a silent movie. The sound issue could also be the fact that my hearing aid hasn’t been working properly lately so that could be the problem.

Johnny Strong also provides the music score which works perfectly for the movie with some haunting female vocals reminiscent of Gladiator.

The villains are all hateful with a standout performance from Todd Jenkins as Youssef where he proves to be quite the chameleon; I can’t believe this is the same guy who plays Clarence in The Channel (which is also awesome FYI).

The final half hour is action nirvana with Mirko going into one man army mode and taking out the trash; by the end you’re left thinking “why isn’t Johnny Strong in more movies?” as he really is one of the most underappreciated talents in the action genre, but I think it’s by his own choice that he’s selective about the projects he does.

Overall, Warhorse One once again proves that Johnny Strong and William Kaufman are a winning combination with a bodycount surely in the triple digits and a story with genuine heart at its core. Don’t go in expecting lots of fight scenes as this isn’t that kind of movie but there is still some impressive action and Johnny Strong once again proves he is one of the most interesting people working in the action genre today.