A drunk Australian mercenary (Chris Hemsworth), grieving for the loss of his son, is paid to go out to Bangladesh to play ‘white saviour’ and recover the kidnapped son of a drug lord. That’s it. That’s the whole plot. The End. Is it a spoiler to tell you what is pretty much the logline?
Okay, there are good reasons to watch this film. A lot of Indian and Bangladeshi talent (direction, actors and stunt-people) have gone into this movie, and it’s refreshing to see a ‘different’ way of making a movie. It’s interesting that you don’t need a massively convoluted plot if you have some decent motifs, thoughtful scenes, and well choreographed sequences. There is something refreshingly innocent or honest – rather than tiredly cynical – about it. Indeed, this movie is honest enough to show us the true poverty, squalor and street-gangs of Dhaka. (Okay, it might be a touch cleaned up/sanitised for western audiences – I don’t actually know.)
It would be easy to complain that I needed sub-titles to watch this movie… cos Hemsworth completely grunts his way thru this movie. I had no trouble understanding the Indian and Bangladeshi actors, by contrast. It would be easy to say that the shooting of hundreds upon hundreds of corrupt soldiers and police got boring after an hour or so. It would be easy to point out that the silly revenge moment at the end of the movie could have happened at the start and spared us having to sit through hours of murder and mayhem. But that would be to distract from the few saving graces that the movie had.
If you’re struggling for something to watch during the lockdown, you might want to watch this movie, although it’s very dissatisfying in many ways. It scores an understanding 6 out of 10 from me.
What an odd film. The first thirty minutes were entirely meandering, with barely a plot of consequence that could be described. There was no natural rapport between the lead actors (Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson), and the presence of Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson could do nothing to help the entirely flat script. If the movie hadn’t been a xmas present, and if I hadn’t been tipsy and full of bonhommie, I think we would have switched it off… which would have been a shame, cos the later half of the movie is an absolute blast, tightly constructed and strangely compelling. It was as if a different director entirely had suddenly been brought on board. There’s a key ‘regrouping’ scene in the desert, when Chris and Tessa are stranded and forced to confront their issues. Their conversation is entertainingly facilitated by a tiny (CGI) alien known as Pawnie – who up till that point has been the most engaging of all the characters we’ve met. It’s like they’re having a crisis meeting with the script-writers and director, actually. Anyway, it works, things are resolved, we move forward and the ‘ride’ really and literally begins.
The scenario? Er… well, the Hive are threatening to invade (yet again), but there’s a macguffin item they need to get control of first, a macguffin that has fallen into Tessa’s hands (conveniently) but which causes all sorts of baddies to pursue her. Same plot as all the other movies? Yup. There is an added dimension to this movie, however, in that there’s a mole in the Men In Black organisation. We’re kept guessing as to who the mega-baddie really is… and it could well be Chris himself. Or Pawnie. Or Liam. Or Emma. Or Agent C. And, in the second half of the movie, there are some nice jokes (none are belly-busters, but they’re good enough). Overall… the first half of the movie scores 3 out of 10, and the second half scores 8 out of 10. Weird. If you enjoy the MIB franchise, it’s probably worth your while.