Runtime 90 minutes
I’m not sure why people buy Rolex watches. I have worn one for four decades, even spent lots of money to upgrade it recently, but it still doesn’t keep accurate time. Even though it has a black dial and supposed to be luminous, I can’t see it in the dark. I just bought a new digital watch just for screenings and was so thankful to have it for this movie because I was looking at the watch almost every five minutes to see how much longer I had to sit there and suffer.
These movies just seem to get worse and worse. This one is one idiotic fight after another. When the kung fu fighting was over, then the gunfights started, and they are even more imbecilic. Thrown in, of course, are more silly car chases. After the car chase, there is a gunfight. There’s a gunfight in the street. Then they move in to have a different gunfight inside a building that seems to last at least 30 minutes. It would be a lot cheaper just to go to a firing range and watch and listen people shoot, because that’s all these gunfights are: people firing assault weapons at one another. Mostly it’s an exercise in the sounds of automatic weapons firing because nobody can see who is shooting whom. It’s a half hour of incomprehensible mayhem with what seems like hundreds of bad guys out to get the two or three good guys. Guess who prevails?
The story? They don’t need no stinkin’ story! What they in all seriousness and unmitigated hubris call a plot with a straight face is just a flimsy excuse for the fights and gun battles and car chases. But even though there is really no coherent tale to tell, it doesn’t end! It reminded me of the first and last James Patterson book I read, which required you to buy the next book to find out what happened. I didn’t, and never read another of his books. The really depressing thought is that they are clearly setting the audience up for a sequel, God forbid.
Director Peter Berg seems to think that the best way to create tension is to have lots of extreme close ups and rapid fire dialogue. Fast dialogue works with Shakespeare because his lines are astute and clever. Believe me when I say that screenwriter Lea Carpenter is no Bard of Avon. The fast dialogue is nothing but annoying.
Mark Wahlberg continues to show that he doesn’t appreciate his talent, because if he did, he wouldn’t waste it on preternatural violent junk like this.
The only redeeming value of the film is the presence of John Malkovich in the cast. Even in a stinker like this, his electric presence brightens up the screen.
Tony Medley is an MPAA-accredited film critic. See more reviews at TonyMedley.com.