What a great surprise! An uncommonly arresting action film with Ben Affleck impressing as a badass, obsessively calculating anti-hero who lands someplace magical on the autism spectrum. In truth, I watched this cos I love director Gavin O’Connor’s work, specifically the beautiful family drama from a few years ago set in the MMA world, “Warrior”, which was hailed by critics and rated highly by the audience that saw it, but barely registered at the boxoffice.
The major problem I’ve had with action films recently is that I just don’t care. Ok, Statham, you can punch the life out of a guy’s throat but what does it mean beyond the moment? In how many different ways can a knee to the chest be interesting before you find yourself wondering if Tony Jaa’s just trying to keep his Nike’s fresh?
That’s what sets this film apart… the action matters… who’s carrying it out, upon whom and why… there’s an interesting, involving story with fully fleshed-out characters to care about first and foremost, and kickass action built around that. Like 2012’s “Jack Reacher”. Or “Warrior” too, for that matter.
I really enjoyed this, despite some third act, exposition-heavy scenes and a glaring example of Ebert’s law of economy of characters… I’m glad audiences are responding to it because maybe it’ll up the bar on what a good, mid-range budget action film can be… plus one of the lead detectives with a substantial supporting role was a black woman and fuck y’all but I love seeing black people playing key roles in successful movies. On screen, front and center, directing, writing…. I celebrate it all.
Good shit. Definite recommend.
Watch this back-to-back with #QueenOfKatwe