Just because you can make a film that is basically Buddhist Fast & Furious Highlander it really doesn’t mean you should.
Ok, ok. It’s Saturday afternoon, and I was bored, so it was either this or another cookery show. I decided to jump in, purely for the purposes of science. I wish I’d watched the Hairy Bikers now. They were in Whitby this time, sniffing kippers. No, that’s not a euphemism.
The beginning of the movie is a big shooty, screechy, all-action car chase à la Bond, which turns out to have some relevance to the latter half of the film, if you can be bothered to care by the time you get there because it makes no sense at all right now. But there are stunts.
Proceedings proper start at a job interview, which is not going well for the protagonist Evan (Wahlberg). Apparently he has a history of mental illness, and has visions. Oddly they’re not keen on hiring a psychotic, mentally unstable man who looks like he lives in the gym weight room and spends his days monitoring his carb and protein intake, so probably has a serious ‘roid problem as well. But it’s all ok kids, he’s not schizophrenic, he’s just a hidden superhuman reincarnating over and over to save the world. They’re not visions, you see, he’s just remembering all of his past lives, as some other characters tell him using perfunctory Kingsman style induction and exposition.
Because of all of this there are flashbacks. Lots and lots of flashbacks. And fights. And car chases. And crashes. And explosions. Boy did they use the budget for that stuff. Unfortunately they didn’t spend much at all on the script, which sounds like it could have been written by Alexa. We also get a brief cameo by Toby Jones, who must at least have found the cheque rewarding. Considering how many bangs and crashes there are, you’d think it would make things fast-paced and exciting. But no, it’s actually surprisingly dull and listless. There’s no tension, and no buy-in to the main characters, so as we lurch from one set-piece to another there’s not much reason to care where they’re going next, or why. More than once I actually wished the big boss villain would just hurry up and fucking detonate his life-destroying egg weapon to finish it all off and put them (and us) out of their (and our) misery.
It doesn’t help that Wahlberg is sleepwalking through this, and has about as much charisma as a warped plank. He’s clearly spent all of his time getting terrifically buff without bothering with any of the boring acting part. There’s no chemistry at all with his forgettable female co-star with whom he’s supposed to have an intense all-consuming, across the ages, burning love. It’s like a terrible episode of First Dates where even by the starters they both want to be out of there.
Big plot questions:
- if Bathurst can just kill an infinite with a dethroner bullet why doesn’t he just shoot himself in the head and stop us suffering this shit?
- Evan can’t find the money for the rent, but has a sweet workshop space where he’s busy making an extremely high-end sword, with what are presumably high-end materials.
- Are the Nihilist henchman Infinites too? Either way, it’s not exactly a great gig, is it? And who’s paying their corporate insurance premiums?
The whole thing is an orgy of leaden exposition, and lumpen, cod-profound dialogue. Then there’s the small matter of the convenient revealing of a superpower for the lead (whose identity changes part way through things) at exactly the correct moment he needs it. That comes as part of a final fight that is as ludicrous as it is turgid and anti-climactic. Then there’s a trite homily which could have been pulled off any number of shitty inspirational quote Facebook groups to round it all off. I wonder, when Mark Wahlberg was trying to be street in the early 90s (yes, I was cringing last night watching Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch on the BBC Four Top of the Pops repeats), did he think that he’d end up here, churning out filler like this? It’s such a drag being a movie star. Is the fee worth it, Mark? Really?
I spent most of my time laughing at how terrible it all is, and it is most certainly proof that you can polish a turd. This turd is so polished you could use it as a lighthouse mirror. It’s 107 minutes long, and it’s too long. By about 107 minutes.
I watched this so you don’t have to. Let it die in peace, not be reincarnated, for everyone’s sake.