James, I am not gonna be the force in your life that prevents you from hanging out with this girl tonight.
I mean, who knows, man, maybe you’re meant…
meant to kiss her tonight.
This film had everything to make it an extremely exciting end product. A fascinating storyline with a surprising twist. A sympathetic protagonist (Jessie T. Usher). Bella Thorne as a co-player. And a crazy opponent who has a nice surprise. Plus a short playing time of fewer than 80 minutes, which means that the film has the same functionality as a bag of paprika chips. It’s not real food but as a quick snack, it fills your hungry stomach. And it’s also damn tasty. Only one crucial item was missing. And that’s credibility. There are some developments that are too ridiculous for words. And that’s not all. A surprising end was also missing. An unparalleled denouement through which you forget all the nonsense and moronic situations. The disappointment about the denouement was so big that you’ll forget about the plus points I just mentioned. Unfortunately, because there was still a lot of good stuff to discover.
Sigh. Bella Thorne.
First of all, Bella Thorne. Well, I think that I have a thing for her. When I first saw her in “Shovel Buddies“, I was immediately hooked. A beautiful appearance with a lovely look with a pair of sparkling eyes. There was no doubt. I had to watch all the films in which she played. Unfortunately, I finally forgot that commitment (like all my New Year’s resolutions) and I only admired her again in the not so tremendous “I still see you“. At first, I didn’t really feel like watching this movie because of the movie poster. With that pink neon-like title I immediately thought of “Cocktail“. And that wasn’t exactly a movie that impressed me. It was only when I discovered the name Bella Thorne that I didn’t hesitate for a second to watch it. And now I also know that the name Bella Thorne is no guarantee for an excellent film.
This Bruno guy is a pain in the ass.
Everything revolves around James (Jessie T. Usher), a starting actor hoping for a breakthrough (something more important than a henchman in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” anyway), and forced to take a job as a taxi driver. Something similar to the “Uber” services. Only here it’s the “Ride” app that takes care of new customers. And the first customer is the lovely Jessica (Bella Thorne) who’s going for a night out with some friends. The animated conversation between them made her invite the sympathetic James for a drink after his shift. But first James has to pick up a certain Bruno (Will Brill) who has an arrogant attitude. You’ll grow an antipathy towards this man from the very beginning. A dreadful, annoying and unpleasant person who cannot specify a destination. He’s reminded five times that there’s no meter and that tips or extra money aren’t accepted. And he’s also so persistent in his argumentation that he can convince James to ask Jessica to come to a party on Malibu (including hot tubs).
It all felt ridiculous at a certain moment .
When everything seems to go smoothly, with the necessary silly jokes from Bruno, it turns out he has a completely different plan in mind. Before James and Jessica realize it, they are in a life-threatening situation. A game of manipulation and dominance. A psychological cat and mouse game in which both innocent passengers are forced to commit criminal offenses. But as the film progressed, the improbabilities accumulated. James had plenty of opportunities to end the mad ride. A whopper of a revolver handed over twice and not once use it to turn the enforcer into a target practice! If it was me, that guy would already have looked like Swiss cheese with holes in it. And most of all I had to laugh with the hiding place that James and Jessica chose. It was as if they wanted to be found quickly. So stupid.
But it’s above all the denouement that makes the entire film collapse like a plum pudding. The only reaction that occurred to me was: “That’s it?” It’s so disappointing that I wondered why I actually made the effort to completely sit it out. Fortunately, the film had a limited runtime. But just like Bruno, the film doesn’t know which direction it wants to go. In short, a not so very successful film. And the sometimes beautiful, nocturnal images of Los Angeles won’t fix that. Fortunately, Bella Thorne was in it.
My rating 3/10
Thank You For The Support!
REVIEW: Horizon Line
The COVID-19 pandemic may have shifted the way we watch movies but has kept the month of January intact. STX’s latest, Horizon Line, represents everything, oh, so well-known about “the dumping ground of movies”; it features a paint-by-numbers story with minimal character development, borrowed from infinitely superior pictures. After their pilot (Keith David) dies of a heart attack while on the way to a wedding, passengers Sara (Allison Williams) and Jackson (Alexander Dreymon) must now control the plane, without a GPS, compass and functioning radio frequencies. Sounds familiar? It absolutely is.
Nothing new and/or exciting is offered in Horizon Line that would justify an early PVOD purchase, save for one visually enthralling action sequence involving the plane flying through a thunderstorm. The use of lightning just poses itself perfectly with the dark menace of the storm, even if the entire sequence is completely unrealistic. Sara flies above the storm, which causes her and Jackson to have altitude sickness. The portion of that sequence is insanely silly, as it reduces a serious, potentially life-threatening condition to a joke. However, without it, the plane wouldn’t have looped in insanity through the storm which causes the best [and only] cathartic release you’ll get while watching the film.
Every action sequence is filled with fake-outs, in which director Mikael Marciman and screenwriters Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken will manipulate the audience into thinking the characters are in imminent mortal danger, but never are. Everything that goes wrong in every action scene…does go wrong, to try making the audience care about the characters, but a last-minute save always happens to keep the characters alive. Because of this, Horizon Line is devoid of any stakes and importance. Characters are put in impractical situations, always protected by a higher power (the screenwriter) with overzealous last-minute saves to keep them alive.
It also doesn’t help that Horizon Line contains poor performances from its leads, due to its mediocre script. The first half-hour of the film is spent on “character development”, yet it only introduces the protagonists’ worst qualities, which never once pays off during the “plane disaster” part of the movie. Sara is too hung-up on her job to move away from the corporate world of downtown London to pursue her passion, while Jackson is too hung-up on his love for Sara. None of what was established in the first act of the film ever gets mentioned while they’re on a plane since they face mortal danger at any moment (but not really). Alexander Dreymon’s native accent slips more than once on the plane, even though he uses an American accent for its opening act and during tense sequences. Allison Williams’ goal during the entirety of the film is to tell Jackson (and the audience) what she’s doing, even though the audience can clearly see what’s going on. Granted, some will argue that in a total state of panic, someone could talk to themselves to alleviate their state, but the use of descriptive dialogue feels like pure description: “I’m going to do ________ and ________” instead of “Ok….what do I do? What can I do?”, which becomes an annoyance instead of compelling dialogue.
If you’re looking for new “content” to watch, that’s an amalgamation of transport disaster films such as Airport meets the framing device of Hany Abu-Assad’s The Mountain Between Us, with sprinkles of Cast Away (+a Jaws/The Shallows fake-out), then maybe Horizon Line is the film for you. If you’re looking for a transport-disaster film that has any sort of value to it, watch Airport (or The Poseidon Adventure) instead. You won’t feel like you’re wasting your time instead.
Horizon Line is now available to rent on premium video-on-demand retailers.
Outside the Wire | Review
Outside the Wire is the latest action, sci-fi film from Netflix that’s set in the future and it’s full of robots and plenty of action. You’d think all this makes for an exciting film when in fact it’s the complete opposite.
Outside the Wire takes place in the year 2036 when a drone pilot named Harp, played by Damson Idris (Snowfall) goes against orders in launching a missile attack and as a result, he’s forced to work for an android officer called Leo, played by Anthony Mackie (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Hurt Locker). The two of them are tasked with going into a deadly militarized zone in order to locate a doomsday device before the insurgents do.
It happens all too often now that Netflix come along and release a below average action film but viewers continue to lap them up. It happened with The Old Guard and Project Power to name a few recent examples and it’s beginning to get a little tiresome. Outside the Wire is yet another messy, bloated action film devoid of any life or excitement.
There was definitely potential for something half decent to have come of Outside the Wire but it all just gets lost in trying to be a slick action film. Every other line in this film seemed to be exposition trying to explain something that’s been needlessly over-complicated by all the futuristic things going on. It’s an action film so you might be able to give all the expositional dialogue a pass if the action is alright and entertaining. But even the action feels boring and a chore to sit through. There are just too many action scenes that become far too confusing to follow because of choppy editing and poor CGI.
The opening scene throws you straight in with a fast-paced action scene but when the first few minutes are intercut with text trying to bring you up to speed with what’s going it all becomes too much. Within a few minutes you’re already struggling to keep up with all the information that’s been thrown at you and you’re not really interested in the action either. The sound design was quite good however and that’s one of the few redeeming factors of this film; all of the action scenes sounded really gripping and exhilarating. They just didn’t look it.
As the film goes on it tries to be much cleverer than a film like this needs to be and it results in feeling far too long. The film comes in at five minutes shy of two hours so it isn’t a long film at all and yet by the time the end credits start rolling it feels like an eternity later.
If Netflix slowed down the rate at which they’re churning out all these films they might end up with some good films but that’s not how Netflix work, they’d rather have quantity over quality as the number of people that stream their drivel always seems so high. Perhaps I’m being a little over-critical here as there are some good Netflix action films such as last year’s Extraction which was excellent but it just seems to be so often that you go to check out the latest original action offering on Netflix only to be bored and disappointed two hours later.
Overall, Outside the Wire is a bloated, messy action film, with very few redeeming qualities that will leave you bored and isn’t worth your time.
Outside the Wire is streaming on Netflix from January 15.
The Doorman | Review
The Doorman is the latest action film from cult director Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus, The Midnight Meat Train). It’s the same old classic Die Hard-esque set up, this time with Ruby Rose (John Wick: Chapter 2) trying to save her estranged family when villain Jean Reno (Léon: The Professional, Ronin) takes over their apartment building. Rose plays ex-Marine Ali taking a job as a doorman of a high-rise in New York City, now traumatised after an assignment went wrong. She soon has to protect her loved ones and save the day.
It’s the same old tried and tested action film that will inevitable be compared to Die Hard and the many other similar films. The one big thing this had going for it is the fact that it’s female led. Of all the Die Hard rip-offs there doesn’t seem to be a single one with a female lead so it’s very refreshing to see the kick-ass lead action character be a woman for a change. But that’s about all The Doorman really has going for it. There’s nothing else fresh or new to this film and so the female lead is all it has. And even then, that’s not a whole lot.
In terms of acting for the most part it felt very bland and wooden. Ruby Rose just wasn’t a great choice for the lead. Rose is good when it comes to playing a smaller action role without many lines like in John Wick 2, but she just wasn’t strong enough to carry this film and she just really didn’t feel like a good fit for the more character driven scenes. She was good when it came to the action scenes but for the moments in between she just felt really out of place. French acting legend Jean Reno was very clearly there just to pick up his pay check and then get going again; his performance felt very bland and he has definitely done much better in his career. He had potential to really elevate his character to be a very menacing villain like Hans Gruber but he just wasn’t all there and his villain just didn’t feel threatening in the slightest. In fact, he’s even outshone by the secondary villain played by Aksel Hennie who seemed to be the only person in the film giving a good performance, trying to carry as much of the film as he could.
In terms of action, it did a decent job and that’s really the main thing that you’re watching a film like this for. It had some choppy editing and some questionable CGI in places but ultimately if you just sit back and enjoy the action as it comes and for what it is you can definitely have a good time with this flick. There’s plenty of action to keep you going through the whole runtime right from the start up until the very end and it’s enjoyable and you can definitely have a good time with some of the action in this film. If you’re a fan of this type of action film, you’ll be able to find entertainment in it.
The Doorman is a totally passable 93-minute action film that’s entertaining enough but it doesn’t bring anything new to the Die Hard rip-off genre other than a female lead.
The Doorman is available on Digital Download 18 January and DVD 25 January 2021 from Lionsgate UK
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