Sunday, 1 May 2016


(James Watkins, 2016)

This is so bad.
Elba plays Briar, a walking cliche. A US Government agent seen as ill-disciplined, insubordinate and reckless, he is also plainly amazing at his job. Which is beating people up and looking hard. Though his bosses don't understand that, and they've pulled his ass out of Baghdad after an Op went wrong and compromised a source. I can barely write this shit; I don't know how the actors can stand to say it. Elba looks grim and growls a lot.
He doesn't have an actual character here. Nobody does. They just pull faces at one another, sometimes in sync with the dialogue, often not.
Anyway, Briar finds himself in Paris and eventually lumbered with an American pickpocket (Richard Madden) whole actually lives in a garret. They are embroiled in a cockamamy scheme dreamt up by a French SWAT team which involves bringing the city to its knees through a combination of hashtags (no, seriously, there is a line of dialogue that says "The hashtags will tip it over"), rioting and wanton bombing.
Briar has other ideas. His bosses shout at him. He shoots people and chases them. He doesn't really do one-liners, even. Kelly Reilly slums it through a few scenes as his understanding boss. She literally looks asleep during one scene. Which would be fine but she has to speak dialogue. Madden does a nasal American accent and his character reacts to stuff happening around him. I can't remember anything else about him. He has a beard? Thats it.
The bad guys are swarthy Mediterranean types, and we all know you can't trust them.
After a few scenes that are recognisably set in Paris - look, thats the Eiffel Tower out the window! - most of the film looks like it was shot in an industrial estate on the outskirts of Bucharest. A crowd of rioters parade down what looks like an alley behind some lock-ups.
Luc Besson must see this type of Eurocorp rip-off and laugh his socks off.
Elba is being talked up as the next Bond, and he shares the right kind of bruising physicality with Liam Neeson, but aside from that his action hero chops aren't tested here by the fact that he only registers as a figure against landscapes, and never as a human being in any recognisable way.
There are at least two redeeming action scenes: Elba chasing Madden along rooftops, and a five-way fight scene in the back of a police van.
Otherwise: this is worse than every Jason Statham movie ever.

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