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So...read this between two sittings, splitting at page 48/49.
Overall, I enjoyed it. With some work on character and structure, I could definitely see this being a summer flick starring one of the up-coming male stars like Chris Evans.
I'm going to start with the big thing that is not working here: you seem to be missing half of the first act, and that leads to a multitude of smaller issues that, mostly, seem to stem from the missing half of act 1. The second half of the script (or really the last third) is clearly not as well-written as the rest, leading me to believe you have spent a great deal more time on the first two thirds of the script. That's not the end of the world, but you do need to do a general clean-up pass, fixing some grammar and spelling errors, and cleaning up a lot of the cheesy stuff that didn't get purged yet.
But, before getting into more details, let me tell you what I definitely did like. Your writing style is VERY good, and the "author commentary" is usually pretty fun (though some of the lines are cheesy in the second half), and it's clear that your writing really starts to shine once you've done a good number of editing passes on it. Also, the premise is very good, making the lack of characterization all the more disappointing actually (more on that later). And finally, you are very good at writing action. Period. Like the rest of your writing, it does clearly need a lot of editing to shine (who's doesn't?), but the promise is there.
Now, because of the lack of one half of act 1, we miss a great deal of characterization, particularly defining the relationship between Marc and Spirit, the chemistry between Marc and Kelly (this is also hurt by another detail I'll get into in a bit), and the "spirit" of our bad guy, Hirano (pardon the pun).
I definitely think we need a lot more definition of Marc's relationship with Spirit, and that, overall, is what I missed most in the script. It's made all the more obvious after the opening scenes paint a great picture, but then we don't get to see that picture refined over the rest of the script.
Additionally, the relationship between Marc and Chrissy is pretty well-defined initially, but you spend too much time on it and the flashbacks without making Chrissy a full-blown main character. We also need the flashbacks to be over sometime in Act 2. As a result, she feels like an after-thought. That might hurt, but it is true.
This also leads to another fairly big gaping hole in the script. What's the B-Story?? You have a love story going on, but that story isn't able to be fleshed out at all, since Marc is pinned in Arcadia, and Kelly is incapacitated as a character for most of the movie. There is also the flashbacks. Basically, you have to decide to make one of these the B-Story and be sure to explore your movie's theme during it. If it were me, I would make the love story the B-Story and save Kelly getting captured for the All is Lost point or sometime in the middle of Act 3. Then I would use the flashbacks during act 1 and 2 as theme-reinforcing moments, and maybe save one for the end of Act 3.
Speaking of theme btw, I'm assuming the theme is something along the lines of "friendship always pays off" but it is never entirely clear.
I didn't go too into the depths of the individual words, but these general guidelines should hopefully help you get a grip around your own beast of a script and identify the weaknesses. I think you are definitely at least 25 pages short of truly covering the story, but I can easily see this story hitting upwards of 120 pages. But, based on what I read, you have a great unique writing style, and the story is there; it just needs to be dug out a bit.
Great work, and please finish this and get it made so I can watch it in theaters lol! Hope this was helpful!
Thx for the detailed review, Millan. A lot to chew on and change/repair. I like your eye for detail. 1st post on SS? Have you been around here long with other aliases or did you just find the site? Either way, input appreciated and I will rip into this soon enough when I return to it.
Thx for the praise regarding my action writing. Honored to have it noticed.
That was my first post. I'm really digging my teeth into this whole screenwriting/directing thing, and this seemed like a solid community!
Another note, perhaps you should have the flashbacks end, for the most part, by the end of Act 2, but then bring in Chrissy to save Marc's life (paying him back) right when we break from act 2 to 3. This would not only be epic in terms of payoffs (the audience has this suspicion that Chrissy may die in the flashbacks and turning that is huge, emotionally, for the audience), but it would also give you another great character to play with in your finale.
And one more note on the finale (Act 3). The second half where those multiple threads of action were all unfolding simultaneously was compelling and thrilling, but it takes too long to get there and it feels like the confrontation with the robot arm guy (forgot his name) just lingers a bit too long. A bonus to the point in the last paragraph is that the sniper moment when Chrissy saves Marc's life will be less Deus-Ex-Machina-esque, and again the payoff for the audience will really sink in.
Table Read - very cool - haven't had that experience before. I did read the first 10 since I had not looked at this before. Not sure you are interested in anymore feedback - but thought I would share what hit my brain anyway. As a note, I think the writing is very impressive overall so these really are just nits.
... so he can apply pressure to the bloody neck of Police Officer KELLY CAINE, 27.
Like I said nits - but when I first read the line I did not know if Kelly was male of female. Some indication given the gender neutral name would help.
The road is wide open -- a teenage-boyís wet dream. Full speed through red lights... seconds seem like minutes.
Marc exits, slides across the hood -- Dukes of Hazzard style -- arrives at the passenger door..
In the abstract, the above descriptions are vivid and would generally applaud the style of writing. But for me, they were also tension breakers. I am following the life and death struggle with Kelly and somehow - a teenagers wet dream - broke the tension for me. Same with the Dukes of Hazzard reference. In a comedy - they would be perfect. I don't now, maybe it's just me.
Navy SEAL, JAY PETERS, 25, laying on his back, SCREAMING in agony -- looks down, sees Marc Laar stuffing bloody GUTS back into his shredded torso-cavity.
I warned you these were nits - don't think you need the Laars here - you already into'd him.
Yep, itís one of those gruesome war scenes.
Again - a tension breaker for me with the "yep"
Yet another soldier, must be the troopís MEDIC, shoves Marc out of his way, applies a trauma pack, good luck with that.
Not need to say must be the MEDIC - I think it reads better if it is simply a MEDIC shoves Marc out of the way. And - hate to say it - but the "good luck with that" was another tension breaker for me.
E7 Set up a fatal funnel until air support arrives. No one gets in. Engage the enemy at will! (to himself) Officially, we arenít even supposed to be here.
I would lose the "officially" in the talk to himself. Made it seem a little unnatural and OTN.
Again - your writing is solid and crisp and this could simply be my point of view - but the biggest issue for me with the early pages was that the tone of some of the descriptions took me out of the drama and tension you were building.
Best of luck with the read - that should be a blast.