Few actors have embraced their status as a walking, talking action figure quite like Gerard Butler. Once in the running to play James Bond  —  he had apparently been considered for Daniel Craig’s role in Casino Royale  —  Butler seems to have abandoned his ambitious side in recent years, content to grin his way through violent action movies about Egyptian demigods and jingoistic secret service agents. For a while there, it looked as though Butler might have given up on anything smarter than an ’80s direct-to-video Cannon film. And then Snow Ponies came along.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Snow Ponies  —  and can we please do something about that name?  —  follows a group of men who “travel across difficult terrain to deliver a mysterious package” until bandits and their own buried tensions threaten to tear them apart. The screenplay was written by Pat Healy, who dedicated fans of independent horror films will know as an actor from The Innskeepers, Cheap Thrills, and Starry Eyes. Healy’s script had previously been named to the Black List, an annual list of the best unpublished screenplays in the industry.

Snow Ponies will also mark the directorial debut of Darrin Prescott, the stunt coordinator responsible for up-close-and-personal action movies like John Wick, Drive, and 2 Guns. Prescott and Butler even have a little bit of history: they previously worked together on 2009’s Gamer, the absolutely wild Neveldine & Taylor joint (and spiritual successor to Schwarzenegger’s The Running Man). Even if the movie itself isn’t particularly good, I fully expect three incredible action sequences and one surprisingly fun musical number.

Will Snow Ponies be another John Wick for Gerard Butler? Or will he sink further into the malaise of VOD thrillers? It would seem even at this early stage that Butler is surrounded by all the elements he needs for success. Fingers crossed that Butler and company put together must-see dollar theater movie of 2018.

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