Quick synopsis: Two brother thieves rob a bank, then steal an ambulance with a half-dead cop in the back.
I was looking forward to this. I thought it would be action-packed and a lot of fun. It does have a lot of action, but it’s directed in a way that you can’t see a lot of it. The whole thing is just too Michael Bay. He doesn’t direct action very well, which is weird as it’s the only thing he makes. You have the standard “swooping long-distance shots” which last less than a second but were probably really expensive to make so it just feels wasteful and decadent from a production standpoint.
The key to a good action scene is you need to be able to clearly see what’s happening, but you can’t with this. It feels like it’s been edited by someone on their fifth cup of cocaine coffee of the morning. It is possible to do this, and still make the action coherent, the key is to keep the action in the same part of the screen between cuts, so that all the eyes need to do is stay still, and they take everything in (best example of this is Mad Max: Fury Road), this doesn’t do that. It has stuff all over the screen so your eyes have to constantly shift to take it in. The non-action scenes don’t fare much better. Conversations between characters are filmed in the same “handheld shakey-cam” way as the rest of the film. Even when it’s a quite dull conversation. At one point, the camera is focused on some guys nose as he talks.
Now onto my main issue. Did any of you play the Minority Report video game? It’s a game where you play as someone who is trying to prove he’s not a murderer. While playing this you can grab people and throw them against walls, or through glass etc. But you can also throw them through windows, windows of skyscrapers. So in your quest to show you’re not a killer, you can kill people, but it’s okay because you don’t see them hit the ground, and they don’t have names. That’s what this film does, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s character is based around the concept of “I’m a good person, I’m not letting this cop die”, and then causes car crashes and explosions that DEFINITELY kill people. But it’s okay, we don’t see the people in those cars, so they don’t count.
It’s a shame as the film has potential. It’s a good idea, and the cast is GREAT. There’s not a single performance in here that you don’t buy, it’s just they’re saddled with a script that needed to be cut down. It’s got a good ensemble cast of characters too, but a lot of them are wasted and not really shown enough to give them believability. If they took out the fluff at the start (and there are a fair few diversions along the way which aren’t really needed either), and replaced them with moments where they flesh out the background characters then it would feel more of an ensemble piece, and would improve it immensely as you’d actually care about them. At the moment you don’t really care that much. It’s weird as it’s clearly trying to make it so you do. They have a moment where one of the cops has a personal connection to one of the robbers, this has no influence on the plot, and would mean nothing if it wasn’t there. It’s like the script knows that those kind of things are normally in films like this, but doesn’t know why, but puts them in there anyway.
So in summary, I’m not mad, I’m disappointed.