|Chris Evans and Camilla Belle. I think she came out the best.|
This was one of those movies that came out in the new-IP-movies-with-generic-names era, and I'm so glad we're out of that era(We are right?!) Ok, just so I don't have to keep explaining it over and over...
|Djimon Hounsou plays a good villain.|
Watcher-can see into the future
Pusher-can implant memories and make people do stuff
Bleeder-screams really loud
Sniffs-can track people
Shifters-can alter objects' appearances
Shadows-can hide things or people
Whew. If you think that's a lot to take in, think of how long it takes to get acquainted with the world and how easily it can get convoluted. See, just reading that list, all of those things sound cool. One might be mistaken for thinking these are classes for some new-fangled psi-power based videogame(get on that developers), but sadly it is not as cool as it sounds. Yes it has potential, but it's wasted.
The problem is they give too much power too early in the movie. Once you establish someone can see into the future and see your every move, you have to figure out a way to work around that. What ends up happening is instead of spending time developing character and showing off cool powers, they have to waste it thinking up ways of explaining away the powers they just made up. The master plan they come up with in the third act to throw off one Watcher is the most confusing Ocean's Eleven scheme ever.
That's not the only problem. The story's generic and there's no budget. Or else someone doesn't know how to use money correctly, because there are definitely scenes where guns are dangling in the air by bits of string. Chris Evans stars in a movie where guns dangle in the air on bits of string. It's hilarious! They try to have a tense scene in which Nick psychicly puts a gun to the bad guy's head and there's no way not to laugh at it. In the final battle they do step it up a bit with two movers trading force punches, but by then it's too little too late. Also, having asian guys screaming as a super power is never not hilarious.
The story involves a white guy and a little white girl trying to save the guy's white girlfriend from a black guy in Hong Kong. So, y'know, there's that. But even getting passed that, it's a generic story of a reluctant guy trying to get back his girl while also having a buddy-cop relationship with an adoptive child. It's just boring. I can't find any reason to care other than to hopefully see someone get tossed through a window at some point. And it has a surprisingly good cast of Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning and Djimon Hounsou, who all do the best they can with what they're given. It's so disappointing that this is the story when it could have been so much cooler.
Think about the possibilities, a sci-fi espionage thriller in which all these secret agents have psychic powers? Field agents that can fling soldiers like rag-dolls? Spies that can turn invisible and shift the appearance of themselves, weapons, or some magic macguffin? Operatives who've learned not to trust anyone or anything because at any moment they could be living the lives someone else implanted into their brain? That's the movie I want to see! Sadly, this is not that movie. Wasted potential is this movie's biggest problem. I can't help thinking this might have been so much cooler, especially since it's a brand new property, if it had a better script or a better director. Think what kind of intriguing story it could have had if it was written by Joss Whedon, or what kind of crazy visuals it might have had if directed by Edgar Wright! But I suppose you could say that about anything.
In any case, this is not worth the ride. It had potential, but you're better off re-reading X-Men or playing Psi-Ops or watching Alphas(really you should already be doing that anyways).
THE GOOD: Has Chris Evans, a bit of action, cool premise.
THE BAD: Confusing, convoluted and boring story, terrible effects, no pay off.
THE VERDICT: $$ Don't bother unless you want to get an idea of what this movie could have been, or you're on a Chris Evans binge.
MOVIES LIKE IT: X-Men series, Jumper, I am Number Four, Alphas, Chronicle
ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: To avoid Watchers, people are regularly told "just go in any direction, don't even think about it". I think that's how they made this movie.