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Review by Rich Cline |
dir Ruben Fleischer
scr Art Marcum, Rafe Judkins, Matt Holloway
prd Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Alex Gartner, Charles Roven
with Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, Steven Waddington, Pingi Moli, Rudy Pankow, Tiernan Jones, Alana Boden, Nolan North, Pilou Asbaek
release UK 11.Feb.22,
22/US Columbia 1h56
Is it streaming?
Snarky humour holds this movie together as it bounces from one set-piece to the next, throwing its characters into preposterous situations that play out like Indiana Jones trying to solve the Da Vinci Code. The film looks great, the cast is hugely engaging, and the irreverent tone makes sure we never take anything too seriously. Although slightly more grounded characters and plotting would have made it more satisfying.
Orphaned as a child, Nate (Holland) somehow earns enough as a barman to live in a trendy New York loft. Then he's contacted by Victor (Wahlberg), who plays into Nate's love of mysterious legends, taking him on a series of heists to find Magellan's gold, hidden for 500 years. But Moncada (Banderas) also wants it, and his goon Braddock (Gabrielle) chases Nate and Victor with her imposing thugs (Waddington and Moli). Following clues to Barcelona, they run into Victor's former cohort Chloe (Ali), who doesn't trust anyone. And more evidence leads them to the Philippines.
Opening with a breathless aerial sequence, the film cycles back to Nate's childhood, eventually returning to the sky before the outrageously over-the-top final act. Essentially a digitally animated adventure, the film features epic explosions and utterly impossible stunts. But gorgeous settings add picturesque imagery along the way. And most of the dialog is barbed banter, as characters work together and/or double-cross each other, usually throwing a sarcastic joke into the mix.
The likeable cast keeps the film bouncing energetically, even if little is happening beneath the fizzy surface. Holland is so engaging that he manages to give Nate some intriguing grey shades, even when he's wisecracking. His banter with an up-for-it Wahlberg is great fun, even if it's over-scripted. Ali and Gabrielle add terrific spark as strong women on their own missions, refusing to let a man define them. Banderas nicely portrays his slick villain as out of his depth. And Waddington steals scenes as a hulk with a hilariously thick Scottish brogue.
While the film feels almost breathtakingly vacuous, the spirited tone makes it entertaining, especially in the able hands of the almost criminally likeable Holland, whose smart-cheeky attitude and acrobatic physicality make us believe the laws of physics don't apply to him. He even has some Bond-style sexuality about him, although only vague hints of this remain on-screen. Essentially, it's the kind of movie that works perfectly if you're in the mood to switch off your brain for a couple of hours.
R E A D E R R E V I E W SStill waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2022 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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