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dir Stephen Campanelli
scr Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan
prd Anton Ernst, Donald A Barton
with Olga Kurylenko, James Purefoy, Morgan Freeman, Hlomla Dandala, Lee-Anne Summers, Brendan Murray, Karl Thaning, Greg Kriek, Shelley Nicole, Richard Lothian, Colin Moss, Kingsley Pearson
release US 16.Oct.15, UK 20.Nov.15
15/South Africa 1h36
Running for her life: Kurylenko
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Despite having a female leading character, this thriller is shot in a swaggering macho style that's far cooler than it is coherent. Essentially one long chase, the film is at least slick and dryly funny, making up for the relentless sadistic nonsense with lots of attitude. And the cast seems to be enjoying every scene-chomping moment.
After an elaborate bank heist turns murky and violent, gang leader Alex (Kurylenko) loses her temper and her cover. And things get worse from there for her and her surviving cohorts (Murray and Moss). Furious, their unseen boss the Senator (Freeman) sends his suave, ruthless goon Washington (Purefoy) to clean up the mess and recover a mysterious bit of electronic tech that's far more valuable than the stash of diamonds. So Alex engages Washington and his vicious henchmen (Dandala, Kriek, Nicole and Lothian) in a grisly cat and mouse chase across the city.
Cameraman-turned-director Campanelli clearly loves violent, stylised action movies, so everything feels over-planned for maximum effect, with the script there to connect the dots in the most cursory way possible. This is all about whizzy camerawork, crashing edits and gleaming surfaces. Action sequences include unnecessary flourishes like racing down a multi-storey carpark backwards. And none of the characters merely talks to each other, they scowl or bellow or taunt while plotting their next attack move.
Yes, all of these people are cocky, hotheaded thugs. Even Kurylenko's Alex can barely hold a conversation without starting an argument and shooting someone. Campanelli keeps her in various states of undress in an attempt to bamboozle the audience into liking her. But even though her only admirable traits are tenacity and ingenuity, Kurylenko manages to reveal a hint of emotion. Frankly, no one in this movie behaves like an actual human being; everything they do has the camera in mind.
This makes the movie watchable, but never believable or engaging. If there was even a hint of subtext amid the corny, self-conscious posturing, it would have been a lot more fun. Yet while Kurylenko clearly loves the action beats and Purefoy relishes his diva-like monologs, there's simply nothing to this film aside from a snappy pace and a particularly nasty punchline. Still, it's so beautifully shot that it holds the attention, and may even elicit a guilty smile.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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