|Looks like one of those guys is about to eat Clive Owen. Run Clive Run!|
No. No it doesn't.
Oh I guess you want more of a review, huh?
Jason Stratham is Danny, a killer who doesn't want to be a killer anymore. But wouldn't you know it, when a rich Sheik holds his friend(Robert De Niro) for ransom, he has to go out and kill again. See, this sultan's three sons were killed by these British SAS guys in a non-war type of war, so Danny has to go kill them and make it look like accidents and there's a secret organization called the feathermen protecting them and...well...it's all pretty confusing. And being confused, you lose interest pretty quickly.
And they want you to know this is "based on a true story". They even put it up right before the title. This is not an advertisement, this is a warning. I feel like movie studios do this so that if you have a problem with the meh story or the slow-ass pacing they can say, "Well what do you want us to do about it? It's BASED ON A TRUE STORY BITCH. Go take it up with history."
I understand the basics, Stratham is a killer wrestling with his morality while trying to get his friend out. But it's just so bogged down in this convoluted story it loses steam fast. So much so that I wasn't really invested in Statham's character. Isn't this basically the same role he's been playing for like a dozen movies already? A guy who's really good at killing but trying his damnedest to be a decent guy? They also have him with a love interest which just is not interesting in the least. It's one of those romances where you know they "fall in love" because they just happen to both be there at the right time.
I found his side character companions more interesting, mostly because I knew they were going to buy it at some point(SPOILER ALERT: they do). There's the loud guy and the quiet guy, and they're both funny and interesting characters, and it's a damned shame they didn't feature them in the trailer because they're in over half the movie.
It's weird re-watching the kick-ass trailer, because that's not the story at all. I WISH that was the story, because it looks like they took out all the boring espionage parts. It's weird how they intercut it to look like Clive is the main bad guy when he doesn't even come into play until half an hour into the movie.
That's another thing. Apparently, movie studios don't know how to advertise anymore. Seeing the gun shootin' car drivin' chair smashin' trailer of this you'd think this was the adrenaline rush movie of the year to rival the Transporter or Crank. But really, it was more The Bank Job. Sure there was action...in spurts. But it was more of an espionage thriller than a high octane action movie. The pacing was just too slow.
When they do get to the action, it's pretty good stuff. When you think of a movie with Jason Statham and Clive Owen going at it, these scenes live up pretty well to it, within the bounds of "based on a true story spy thriller" that is. If this had been the action movie advertised, I'm sure they could have done a lot better in the action department. Even De niro gets a couple of cool scenes to his own.
One of the problems I had is that I found it hard to know who to root for. Sure I know Statham's the 'good' guy because he fed a dog at the beginning of the movie, but really, it's just killers killing killers. Statham is killing to save his friend while Owen is killing to save his friends who are the guys Statham needs to kill and who killed this other guy's sons...I can see they wanted to create this moral ambiguity about the whole thing but I feel they missed the point somewhere.
The soundtrack is pretty unforgivably bland with no rocking hurricanes in sight. I was really spoiled after hearing such great scores from Drive, Contagion, and The Debt. I remember listening to this and going "oh, this is what a generic movie soundtrack sounds like. It's all coming back to me."
The ending is...ok...considering it could have been a lot more unsatisfying. But still, it took a long winding annoying road to get there.
THE GOOD: Has a couple of interesting characters, some nice action scenes
THE BAD: kills off said interesting characters, said action scenes take too long to slog through, very confusing and dull
OVERALL: I wouldn't bother. There are better action movies out with Statham(Transporter, Crank, etc.) and Owen(Shoot 'em Up, Children of Men, etc.) and better spy thrillers(See The Debt)
ONE SCENE METAPHOR: Near the beginning when Statham first finds out his friend's being held captive, he goes to talk to his captor and make a deal, then goes to see De Niro, and instantly beats a guard and starts to bust him out. This high tension badass breakout goes on for about 5 minutes until they get to the front door where the main guy is waiting with armed guards, meaning the whole breakout WAS FOR NOTHING. Just like watching this movie.