Out Of Death – review

Brief synopsis: a woman witnesses a policewoman murdering a man. The policewoman, along with other interested parties, needs to eliminate the woman. 

A veteran policeman saves the woman from certain death. They join forces to expose the corruption in the small town. 

Is it any good?: Out of Death is so bad that I am struggling to find an appropriate adjective to describe its awfulness. There is nothing to recommend this film. 

The acting is, without exception, terrible, the script, atrocious. The directing is amateurish and the story, lazy and ill-thought-out. 

Spoiler(ish) territory: Dropped off by a friend, Shannon (Jamie King) joke that if she is not back in a few hours, her friend should call search and rescue. 

Shannon heads off into the woods. It is beginning to rain. Well, a digital approximation of rain. Rain is very difficult to fake digitally; I have tried. The digital rain makes no difference to the main story. 

She is in the woods to bury her father’s ashes. The impending storm – that never comes – gives her pause. Maybe it’s a sign. She writes this in a journal she has brought with her. 

The fake storm passes, a tattooed man, Jimmy (Oliver Trevena), drives into a clearing. He sorts out money and drugs, snorts some powder. He hides his mobile phone behind the rearview mirror, putting it to record. 

A police car comes up behind him. Policewoman Bille Jean ( Lala Kent) gets out and approaches his vehicle. She gets into his truck. Jimmy gets amorous, Billie Jean stops him; business first. 

Jimmy has not sold enough. They have a deal. She seizes the drugs and he sells them; that’s the deal. She is going to have to find another dealer. Jimmy begins to question her, his line of questioning odd. 

His mobile pings. Billie Jean finds his mobile and sees that it is recording. They begin to argue. Loudly. Shannon, who is watching them and has her camera out filming them, watches the argument unfold. 

A rumbled Jimmy throws powder in Billie Jean’s face and makes a run for it. She gets out of the truck and kills him, shooting him in the head. It is another crappy digital effect. Shannon captures the whole thing. 

She drags Jimmy’s lifeless body back to his truck. There is no blood on her. Maybe the cocaine kept the blood off of her. Elsewhere, Uncle Jack (Bruce Willis) has come to the small rural town to visit his younger brother. 

Niece, Pam (Kelly Greyson), tells him that her father is away. Jack is a bit down. His wife died three weeks earlier. Pam tells him it will take some time for him to get over it. Pam is a genius. She adds that being in the country, near the lake, is healing. Thank you, Pam. 

Pam’s son, Pete (Keagan Lasater), comes to greet Jack. The boy has inherited his mother’s tact, immediately noting how sad his great uncle seems. Jack gifts him a video game. That shuts him up. 

The boy buggers off. He only turned up for a gift. I’m guessing he is related to Bruce, as there is no reason for him to be in the film. Back with Jack. And his misery. Jack wonders what he will do out in that rural backwater. 

Pam, ever a font of useless advice, says to enjoy the peace. Jack decides to go for a hike. One would. Pam tells him he should take his gun, just in case he should encounter a bear. 

One would think the mention of a possible bear sighting would dissuade him. Nope, not one bit. Back in the woods, Billie Jean has moved Jimmy’s vehicle into the bushes. Shannon is still filming her. Billie Jean hears her moving around and shouts. She fires a warning into the air. 

A frightened Shannon runs but not before dropping her camera. Yes, she drops the only piece of evidence she has. Not that it matters in the context of the film. She goes back and finds it later. 

Billie calls back to the station to speak to Hank (Michael Sirow). They have a problem. She had to kill someone and was spotted. Hank’s brother, Tommy (Tyler Jon Olson), is also listening to the conversation. 

Hank asks where the person is. Billie tells him that she ran off. They will have to find her. He sends Tommy to help her with the search. Hank is running for Mayor. He tells Tommy to take out a promotional poster. 

Pam and Pete leave old uncle Jack. They are going away for a week. Billie and Tommy search for Shannon. They find her. Shannon, understandably, is terrified. Tommy tells Billie to kill her. Jack, who is out for his hike, sees the scene unfolding. 

He intervenes, telling Billie and Tommy to kneel. Tommy, struck by a moment of smartness, guesses that Jack, who has identified himself as law enforcement, will not shoot them. Jack tells Shannon to run. Shannon is off running. 

Jack follows after her. As he is a lot older, not as mobile as in his youth, she quickly disappears out of sight. Billie and Tommy, who Jack did not think to secure in any way, shape or form, pursue them. 

Shannon hides out in a disused warehouse. She arms herself with a knife. In the woods, Tommy and Bille split up. Billie, having lost her gun earlier, is unarmed. She finds Shannon. 

Shannon stabs her in the leg and runs again. Billie, not the smartest person on God’s earth, pulls the knife out of the wound. For a law person, she knows little about wounds. The leg begins to bleed profusely. She calls Tommy. She tourniquets the leg, slowing the bleed. 

Tommy finds Billie. She tells him she is not feeling too good. Surprise that. Jack finds Shannon. They have the dullest conversation known to man. He’s a cop. His wife died recently. She’s a photojournalist whose father felt she lacked character. Boring. 

More practically, Shannon tells him that she filmed Billie. Jack says he needs to get his phone. She will go and retrieve her camera whilst he does that. 

Tommy and a failing Billie, meet up with Hank. Hank tells Tommy he has to kill Billie. She is too much of a liability. She probably would not survive a trip to the hospital. Tommy takes off the tourniquet and lets her bleed to death. 

Hank, who is, apparently, the brains of the town, goes to the house of Pam’s father. He is looking for Jack. He just misses him, Jack slipping out as he looks around the house. 

Tommy is moving Billie’s body. He sees Shannon and gives chase, catching her. She fights him off, eventually taking his gun and killing him. Hank sees photographs of Pam in the house and realises she is related to Jack. 

He calls Pam and gets Jacks number. He leaves the house and goes looking for Tommy, who is not answering his phone. He finds him dead. The death of his sibling does not seem to bother him. 

Hank gets Pam picked up. He will use her to flush out Jack. Officer Frank (Mike Burns) gets her. He is exceedingly creepy. Hank calls Jack. He makes a bravado speech, telling him to bring Shannon to him if he wants to see his niece. 

Shannon overhears Jack agreeing to exchange her for his niece and is off running again. Jack is now pursuing her. She comes across another house – there are a lot of random remote homes in this town! – and begs the woman (Megan Leonard) to let her in. 

Jack walks into the house. Maybe he’s a ghost. Shannon forces the woman to go upstairs, locking themselves in her bedroom. Jack tells Shannon he was buying time. 

They formulate a plan. Shannon uploads her film to a computer and sends it to the FBI. Jack tells Hank where they are. Hank brings Pam to make the exchange. They outwit Hank and he gets arrested by the FBI. 

A couple of weeks later, Jack is happier. Shannon takes him to see the lake. The end. 

Final thoughts: Out of Death is total bollocks. Some actors are, basically, themselves on film. Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, Samuel L Jackson, Chris Pratt, are guys who play the same character in practically every role. 

Bruce Willis is in this category. The only difference is, he does not even try anymore. Never has it been more evident of a man collecting a wage for the bare minimum. It is just a pension for him. 

These days, most films that Willis appears in are guaranteed to be poor. Out of Death takes his films to a new depth. He does not even try. The other actors, except for Lala Kent that worked with him in the God-awful Hard Kill, probably looked forward to being in a film with him. 

Pity for them. Written by Bill Lawrence and directed by Mike Burns, the same combinations that brought us the aforementioned, Hard Kill, manage to make an even poorer film this time around. 

The acting stinks. Kent, however, is head and shoulder below everyone else. Tyler Jon Olson does deserve a special mention for being unable to hold his breath whilst playing dead. 

At ninety-six minutes long, the film still manages to include many extraneous scenes. The film feels longer than it is because of the poor pacing. There is nothing to recommend about this film. It is an hour and a half of your life you will never see again. Avoid.

The Harder They Fall – review

With a screenplay by Jeymes Samuel and Boaz Yakin, with Samuel also on directing duties, The Harder They Fall is a Western made notable by an almost exclusively black cast. 

Using the Western staples of revenge and the overthrowing of a small town, The Harder They Fall is a big-screen film forced, by present circumstances, onto the small screen. 

A host of well-known stars and actors appear in this well-made film. Idris Elba leads the charge as the antagonist, Rufus Buck. He is ably supported by Regina King, as Trudy Smith, and Lakieth Stanfield as Cherokee Bill. 

The protagonist, Nat Love, is played by Johnathan Majors. Zazie Beetz as Stagecoach Mary, Edi Gathegi as Bill Pickett, Danielle Deadwyler as Cuffee and RJ Cyler as Jim Beckworth make up the rest of Love’s crew. Delroy Lindo’s Bass Reeves brings the two factions together. 

The story begins with a god-fearing man (Michael Beach) sitting down to eat with his young wife, Eleanor (Dewanda Wise) and son, Nat (Chase Dillon). 

There is a knock at the door. Two men come into the house, Rufus and Jesus Cortez (Julio Cesar Cedillo). The man recognises Rufus. He is not glad to see him, knowing that it is not a good omen. 

Rufus kills the man and his wife. He carves a cross into young Nat’s forehead. Many years later, a grownup Nat, a well-known outlaw himself, exacts revenge on Cortez. 

All of this happens before the credits roll on Samuels’ beautifully crafted and nostalgic homage to Westerns, the Old West and figures from history. 

From the outset, the writers state that the film is a work of fiction. Even though all the names are real people from the Western era, the story is fictitious.

The beauty of Samuel and Yakin’s story is that the cast being predominantly black is not important. There are elements of the film, that work better, because of it, but it is not the driving force of the film. 

From a technical standpoint, The Harder They Fall is a wonderful piece of work. From the stylised opening title sequence, dusty, yet colourful, palette and shot selection to pacing and fabulous soundtrack, The Harder They Fall is an enjoyable treat. 

All the actors on show bring their A-game, with standout performances from Regina King and Lakieth Stanfield. Idris Elba is the biggest name on the call sheet.

However, it is Majors’ Love that drives the film, his chilled demeanour carrying proceedings easily. Majors’, who recently appeared in Loki, as the time-travelling villain, Kang, star is in the ascendancy. 

Veteran actor, Delroy Lindo, is such a natural fit as the lawman, Bass Reeves, a role made for him to play. There are so many great scenes in the film, from Deon Cole’s Wiley Escoe, as the sheriff of Redwood, bravado monologue before being persuaded to leave town, to Elba’s Rufus final revelation, the film is full of gems. 

The music of the film deserves a special mention. There is hip hop, reggae, soul, traditional Western-style music and accents. 

Besides the nods to the classic spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone, there is a quiet homage to The Magnificent Seven, with the bond amongst Love’s motley crew of protagonists, going beyond greed or need. 

There is a wobble, the story of Love’s revenge momentarily overshadowed. Redwood needs saving from the tyranny of Rufus and his gang. This particular storyline peters out, none of the townsfolk figuring in the story later on. 

At two-hour-and-nineteen minutes, The Harder They Fall is a long film. It does not feel long. The action is well-spaced out, the peak and troughs of the film, keeping one’s interest throughout. 

Jeymes Samuel has fashioned a highly enjoyable film, that is well worth the two hour viewing time.

Red Notice – review

Brief synopsis: An art thief plans to steal a collection of three ancient, jewelled, eggs. He is tracked by a tenacious Interpol agent and an FBI behavioural specialist. 

He is not the only thief after the eggs. Another thief is tasked with retrieving the eggs by a Saudi billionaire. He wants to give them to his daughter as a wedding gift. 

Is it any good?: Red Notice is watchable and if you like any of the stars, you might even enjoy it. It is not a good film. It is a mishmash of Raiders of the Lost Ark, National Treasure and The Pink Panther but fails to reach even half the heights of those films.

At just under two hours, it is a little overlong. Red Notice is just okay. Throwing up no surprises whatsoever, Red Notice is a brain in neutral watch, that you put on in the background whilst doing something else.

Spoiler Territory: the film opens, telling us the story of three ornate jewelled eggs that were created for Cleopatra. The whereabouts of two of the eggs is known. One is in an art museum, the other in the hands of a dangerous arms dealer. The third eggs location is only known by one person, art thief, Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds).

Inspector Urvashi Das (Ritu Aryu) heads an Interpol unit that is after Nolan. She is being assisted by FBI agent, John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson).

One of the eggs, which is on display in a museum in Rome, is a target. They get to the museum and the egg is on display. John is sure that the egg is not real, pouring cola onto the exhibit. 

The egg dissolves when hit by the fizzy liquid. John sees Nolan in the room and gives chase, even as the museum security try to lockdown the room. 

Nolan is chased by multiple security personnel, managing to evade and injure many of them in the process. Like any episode of that eighties classic show, The A-Team, not one of them is seriously injured. 

This is a pattern in the film. Bullets fly, there are falls from great heights, explosions, crashes and fisticuffs. All result in minor injuries, not one death or incapacitation. 

Unsurprisingly, Nolan escapes, even with John in pursuit. John does manage to get a nice Porsche product placement in, the Taycan he commandeers being crashed into, moments after he gets into it. 

Nolan takes his booty to his Bali – there is a real Bond-esque desire to include as many locations as possible in this film – retreat. He is quickly apprehended by John and Das and her team. 

They arrest him and Das gives John the egg to look after. Nolan wants to know how they found him. A tip-off from the elusive thief, the Bishop.

John hands the egg to a masked female Interpol agent. The agent steals the egg unbeknownst to John. The next evening, Das comes and arrest John. Nobody knows him at the FBI. He gets sent to a prison in Russia. His roommate is Nolan. 

He tells Nolan that he was set up by the Bishop. He does not know why, especially as no one knows where the third egg is. Nolan gets John beat up by revealing he is a cop. 

The Bishop (Gal Gadot) comes to visit John and Nolan. She tells Nolan that she knows that he knows where the third egg is. She tells John, that she set him up. She is there to make a deal with Nolan. 

She will get them out if he tells her the location of the egg plus ten percent of her fee for the theft. Nolan rejects the deal. Later, John says they need to escape and capture the Bishop. The two bond over their similar upbringing and relationships with estranged fathers. 

They escape the prison. Bullets fly, rocket launchers are fired, explosions. No deaths. They need to head to a masquerade party being held by Soto Voce (Chris Diamantopoulos), the arms dealer. The party is in Spain. 

The Bishop breaks into the Interpol offices – yes she does – and sends Das a message, telling her that John and Nolan have escaped. 

Nolan explains the elaborate security system Soto employs. They need to avoid cameras. They also must get hold of an ever-changing passcode that can only be found in Soto’s phone. There is voice and facial recognition software, plus the heavily armed guards. They arrive in Valencia and go to the party. 

John sees The Bishop and goes after her. The two have some verbal sparring and dance before being interrupted on the dance floor by Soto. The Bishop is in partnership with Soto. John steals Soto’s mobile phone. Das is also at the party. Soto makes a speech at the party. 

John and Nolan take the opportunity to go and steal the egg. As they get to the egg, The Bishop is waiting for them. She tells them there was an easier way to get into the room. She fights and overcomes both men. Soto and his security come into the vault, alerted by the door having been opened. 

Soto ties up the two men under a bull ring. The Bishop joins him and tortures John to get information out of Nolan. She wants to know where the third egg is. Soto, impatient for the information, chokes John. Nolan tells them the egg is in Egypt. 

The Bishop drugs Soto and leaves with the egg. John and Nolan escape into the bull ring. John gets hit by the bull. Haha haha. He is okay. A-Team violence remember. Nolan lied to them. The egg is in Argentina. It was hidden in a vault that the Germans had during the war. They head to the Argentinian jungle. 

They find the vault. The Bishop finds them. Das has followed the Bishop. The Bishop, John and Nolan join forces to escape Das and her team. There is another product placement with a rare Mercedes making an appearance. 

They escape Das. John reveals his relationship with The Bishop. They are both the Bishop, working as a partnership. They take the egg and leave Nolan. 

They head to Cairo to deliver all three eggs to the billionaire. Das turns up at the wedding party and arrests the billionaire and his daughter for having Nazi loot. John and The Bishop escape again. A little while later, they are in Sardinia enjoying their life. 

Nolan interrupts their joy. He has told Das about their off-shore account and all their assets have been frozen. What does he want? There is another job that needs three thieves. The end. 

Final thoughts: Red Notice is a lazy star vehicle, written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber entirely around Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds popularity. 

Gal Gadot has enough star power and beauty not to be overshadowed by the two men, neither of whom are required to get out of second gear in their respective personas. 

Thurber’s script has a few gems, allowing Reynolds, especially, to bring his acerbic wit to proceedings. It is not as clever as he would like it to be and there are too many unnecessary scenes in the film. 

The constant changing of locations served no purpose except for increasing the use of studio green screen and editorial title cards. The film is competently directed and bumps along at a good pace. Unfortunately, the story is convoluted and takes too much inspiration from better films without bringing anything new. 

Rita Arya, outstanding in The Umbrella Academy, has little to do but scowl and collect her paycheque as the tenacious Das. Chris Diamantopoulos as Soto is such a waste of screen time, one can almost forget he was in the film and I’ve watched it twice!

Red Notice is a moderately amusing, overlong, action-comedy that is a little light on both counts. Watchable but not unmissable.

Intrusion – review

Brief synopsis: a couple, tired of big city living, moved across the country to a small rural town in the hopes of living a more sedate life. Returning from a date night, they find their home ransacked after a break-in. 

Their relationship comes under severe strain when the husband kills multiple assailants during a second break-in. 

Is it any good?: Um, it might be if one had any idea what was happening! To say Intrusion is a confusing mess is an understatement. That the central pairing of Pinto and Marshall-Green lack any chemistry does not help either. 

Midway through the film, one is still confused. What is it about? Who are the characters? The film could – and probably should be – called ‘Trust’, but I suspect that title is somewhat overused. It is still a weak effort. Something that is all too often the case on Netflix. 

Spoiler territory: out for a date night, psychiatric counsellor, Meera (Freida Pinto) and her architect husband, Henry Parsons (Logan Marshall-Green), the least compatible looking couple in tv-movie-history, return home to find their new place wrecked. 

Meera, a cancer survivor and prone to anxiety, is, understandably, an emotional wreck. Henry, ever the doting husband, tries to reassure her that everything will be fine. They report the break-in to the police.

Detective Steven Morse (Robert John Burke), visits Henry, whilst Meera is at work. The detective asks what items were taken. Just a couple of mobile phones and a laptop. Did they have any enemies? Not that Henry knew of. They had only been in the town for a year. 

They had moved from Boston. He had decided to build a house in Corrales. He had wanted to get away from the rat race, create a place for his wife to feel safe after her health issues. None of this is explained until five minutes from the end of the film. I guess the writer thought it would be too much exposition. 

Did he have any enemies in Boston? The spectacle-wearing, Henry, looks aghast at the thought that he could have an enemy that would cross the country. Truthfully, Henry looks like a serial killer but the detective is too polite to say. 

The detective remarks on the lack of a security system in the house. Henry says he thought Corrales was a safe town. Never watched shitty Netflix movies then…

Meera goes to see her oncologist, doctor Burke (Denielle Fisher Johnson). The doctor mentions how she heard about the break-in. It’s a small town. Back at the house, Henry is installing a locks and security system. It works vis their mobile phones.

Meera returns home. Henry has been busy putting the home back in order. He has replaced their mobile phones. He also installed an app, so as they know where the other person is at all times. Not big brother like at all. Meera seems unperturbed by all the changes, trusting her, slightly overprotective husband, implicitly. 

During the night, Meera wakes up and notices that the power is out. She wakes Henry. He checks the generator outside the house. It has been tampered with, the power deliberately cut. He looks back to the house and sees torch beams in the rooms. Henry runs back to the house. 

Meera is tied up in the bedroom. Henry quickly frees his wife and the two sneak downstairs. The intruders are in Henry’s office. Henry goes and gets a gun that he had hidden in a plant pot, much to the obvious surprise of Meera. Henry is tackled by one of the men, Meera’s screams alerting the others. 

The couple manages to escape, running back up to the bedroom. Henry tells Meera to get to the car, lowering her over the balcony. Before he can follow his wife, Henry is grabbed by the intruders. Meera goes to the car but hears shots fired and screams for her husband. One of the intruders staggers towards the car, already dying from a gunshot wound. Henry shoots him in the back. In the back! 

The next day, Meera wants to know why there was a gun in the house. Henry apologises. He is bullish about not having told her about the weapon, as that weapon saved their lives. Detective Morse comes to see the couple. The men who broke into their home were all from the same family. The Cobb family. They resided in a trailer park in the rough part of town. Not that trailer parks are ever in the nice part. 

The family is also connected to the disappearance of a girl; Christine Cobb (Megan Elisabeth Kelly). She was a relation to the men. Later on, Meera cannot understand Henry’s blasé attitude. He killed three men. Henry lies, telling her it makes him sick to think about it. She does not believe him, especially as he seems to be focused on the house-warming they were planning. 

Henry pops out to pick up some things for the aforementioned party. He forgets his wallet and Meera’s efforts to contact him on his mobile are met with his voicemail. She decides to go after him, to give him the wallet. 

Whilst following after him, she notes that he takes a road heading towards the hospital. She is unable to keep following him, getting into a minor accident on the road. She returns home and asks him about his journey, telling him she followed him and he took the wrong road. 

Henry, his dodgy facade fading by the minute since his murder spree, says he took the wrong road. Meera does not look convinced. She gives him his wallet. What happened to her car? She had it towed and took an Uber. 

At work the next day, Meera suffers a PTSD episode. She imagines one of the intruders pointing a gun at her. It never happened. She leaves work. One of her colleagues bid her farewell and voices her sadness at the cancellation of the housewarming party. Meera did not know about the cancellation. 

In the car park, she is surprised by detective Morse. He heard about her accident. He also tells her that one of the intruders, who had been in hospital, died. He died on Sunday night. He notes that Meera is driving a new car. It’s Henry’s, she tells him. The detective leaves. 

Meera checks the vehicle’s satellite navigation, scrolling through the addresses. One is the trailer park home of the Cobbs, the family Henry wiped out. She visits the home and finds one of Henry’s business corporate envelopes addressed to the Cobbs. 

She finds a video camera and USB drive in their mail slot. Meera is confronted by a paranoid trailer park resident, Clint Oxbow (Clint Obenchain). He smashes the camera, believing she had filmed him. A shaken Meera returns home and tries to view the video but the damage done to the camera prevents it from playing properly. 

She orders a new camera, putting her work address for the delivery. Alone at home, Meera snoops around Henry’s office. She looks at the contents of the USB drive. There are pictures of the house construction. One of the Cobbs, the father of Christine, Dylan (Mark Sivertsen) is in the photos. So is Christine. 

Henry returns home. Meera gets flustered as Henry questions about her whereabouts. The app showed her across town. Meera avoids the question. Later, sitting down to dinner, Henry comes back to the question. He is intense, asking her if she is hiding something. Meera, nervous, a little guilty, stammers. 

He asks her about her doctor’s appointment and if she got the results as he thought that the specialist was on the other side of town. He is just worried that she is keeping it from him. He apologises for the inquisition. 

As Henry sleeps, Meera gets up to look at the photos on the USB stick. In the morning, Henry wakes up to see the bed beside him empty. Meera has already left. Outside the police station, Meera is wrestling with the notion of giving the USB to the authorities. She decides against it, deterred by seeing a crazed Clint being taken into the station under arrest for killing a female. 

Meera returns home and confronts Henry about the evidence she found at the trailer park. Henry tells her that the house and her treatment forced him to make certain decisions that impacted them financially. A deal he made with the Cobb family resulted in him being blackmailed. 

Meera laps up the excuse, her worries soothed by his elaborate explanation. The tension lifted, Henry thinks it would be a good idea to have the cancelled housewarming party. A few days later, the house is full of people and Henry and Meera are the gracious hosts. 

During the evening, Meera sees a news broadcast reporting on Clint’s arrest. He was arrested for animal cruelty, killing a dog. A bitch, the female. Suspicions surrounding his connection to the disappearance of Christine, had been dismissed. 

Something in the newscast prompts her to watch the video she found. The video shows Dylan saying he thinks Henry had something to do with his daughter’s disappearance. Meera decides to search Henry’s office. The party is still going on. 

She finds a button in his office. The button opens a secret door to a basement. Meera finds Christine tied to a chair in the room. Christine sees Meera and begins to scream and panic. The sound does not travel as she is gagged. Henry, who had noticed the light in his office go on, finds Meera in the room.

He tries to explain to her that he has urges. That is why he built the house. Really? They have been married for twelve years, the house is a year old. Anyhoo, Meera, standing in front of her deranged husband, tries to call the police. Henry stops her and ties her up in the basement. Henry returns to the party and gets rid of the guests, making an excuse about Meera being unwell. 

In the basement, Christine tells Meera she has no idea how long she has been in the basement. He did not abuse her physically. It was purely mental, telling her that he would decide. Meera manages to free herself. She frees Christine. 

Henry returns to the basement, still wanting to continue his relationship with Meera. The two women escape the basement, into the main house. They try to leave the house but Henry locks all of the doors remotely. 

He finds the women in the house and knocks Meera into a daze as he drags Christine back to the basement. In the basement, Henry picks up a baseball bat. He is going to kill Christine. Meera hits Henry first, splitting his head open with a heavy ornament, killing him. 

Sometime later, Meera sells the house and returns to Boston. The end. 

Final thoughts: Intrusion is a very silly film. It is too short for the story it wants to tell and most of the tension comes from the music instead of the story. Ably directed by Adam Salky, this underwritten film comes from the pen of Chris Sparling. 

There are all the elements of a promising film; a loving central relationship. A relocation to a small town. A secretive yet possessive spouse. A curious protagonist to help the viewer discover the story and unravel the plot. It is all there.

Unfortunately, none of the elements are utilised particularly well. There is a vague thread about cancer and Meera’s understandable worry. Then five minutes from the end we learn that it was quite serious, crippling her for a period. We only find this out through an expository dump as Henry whines about his urges.

His ‘urges’, as he calls them, are not alluded to at any other time in the film. There is no hint at a history of murderous urges or missing girls. Even though he had Christine captive, it only seemed to be so as he could decide when to cave her head in with the baseball bat. A very specific urge. 

How they had managed to be married for over a decade yet Meera did not notice his homicidal urges, is inconceivable and unbelievable. Henry is clingy and overbearing but the film portrays them as though their relationship is new. 

The film looks good in a modern, lean sort of way. The set design lacks soul, with none of the locations looking natural or adding to the story. Admittedly, the film does whizz through its ninety-two-minute runtime but that speed is to its detriment. An extra fifteen minutes, allowing for more of a build-up would have improved this film immensely. One to give a miss.

Hypnotic – review

Brief synopsis: Reeling from the trauma of stillbirth and the breakup of a long term relationship, a woman finds her life spiralling into depression. She is convinced by her best friend to see a hypnotherapist. Initially, the sessions yield good results. Then strange things start happening. 

Is it any good?: Hypnotic begins promisingly but quickly descends into a lazy mess. An interesting, though in no way new or unique premise, is used in the most uninspiring fashion. Utilising the obsessive/possessive troupe, Hypnotic becomes a plodding chore, losing the drive and promise of the opening scenes by the midway point. Disappointing. 

Spoiler territory: Andrea Bowen (Stephanie Cudmore) is alone in her office late into the evening. Peeking nervously through her office blinds. Somebody is watching her. She calls a police detective but gets his answer machine. 

She leaves her office and heads to the elevator. She is still nervous and panicky as she steps into the elevator. She gets an anonymous caller. I don’t know about you but I never answer anonymous calls. Andrea however, does. The caller tells her this is how the world ends. 

Andrea goes into a full-blown panic and feels the walls of the elevator closing in on her. That is the last we see of Ms Bowen. 

Jenn Tompson (Kate Siegel) arrives for her friends’, Gina (Lucie Guest) and Scott Kelman (Luck Roderique), housewarming. She apologises to an apprehensive Gina for her tardiness. She also apologises for drinking the bottle of wine she was going to bring them, offering up a frankly pathetic, dying plant instead. 

Gina is a little flustered. She had been trying to contact her because Brian (Jaime M Calllica) is at the party. Awkward. She did not think that Jenn was going to come. Ever the aspiring alcoholic, Jenn says she needs a glass of wine. 

Inside the new home, Jenn comforts herself with a glass of wine. She exchanges furtive glances with ex-fiancé, Brian. 

Truthfully, their housewarming looks like the most staged event ever, the home overflowing with people. It is more of a house showing-off. 

Anyhoo, ever the gracious host and good friend, Gina introduces Jenn to Dr Collin Meade (Jason O’Mara). She is gushing in praise of the good doctor – always a red flag – and encourages Jenn to go and see him. Jenn is not overly keen on the idea of therapy, preferring to wallow in her drunken depression. 

A little later, Gina, Scott, Jenn and Brian are sitting around a table chatting. Brian’s career is going really well. He is a software engineer and is explaining his new project when Brian, rudely, interrupts the conversation to ask about Jenn’s life and career. A reticent Jenn tells him she is between jobs. Unemployed. 

Brian goes to eat one of the hor d’oeuvres Gina and Scott had provided and is stopped by Jenn. The snack contains sesame, something Brian is extremely allergic to. Damn that Jenn! Thwarting Gina and Scott’s murderous plan! Brian seems nonplussed that his supposed friends were serving him life-threatening snacks. 

As the party wraps up, Jenn is still hugging a wine bottle and never-empty glass. Dr Collin gives her his card and tells her to call him. Outside the house, Brian thanks Jenn for saving his life. She is waiting for an Uber. 

They have a stilted, cryptic conversation, the kind only people who know one another can have. Brian offers to take her home. Jenn is reluctant, wary of her feelings. He tells her it is just a lift. She accepts the offer. 

In the morning, she wakes up to find a note from Brian on her pillow. It was the booze! Of course it was…She meets up with Gina and confesses her weakness of succumbing to Brian’s barely-made-an-effort game. Gina, ever the cheerleader for Dr Meade, advises her to go and see the therapist. 

Jenn, somewhat coerced by her enthusiastic friend, goes to see the doctor. In the spartan reception area of the doctor’s office, Jenn encounters another one of his patients, Tabby (Devyn Dalton). The slightly off-kilter Tabby gushes about the doctor’s abilities and how they have helped her. 

Jenn goes into Dr Collin’s somewhat cold office space. The doctor greets her. He is feeding his fish and remarks the having fish can be calming. I assume he means as a pet, not as part of one’s diet. 

He begins the session. He finds out that the crux of Jenn’s issues. She had been pregnant with her fiancé, Brian’s, child. The child had been stillborn six months into the term. 

Meade asks her if she had ever tried hypnotherapy. Jenn says she does not like the thought of being out of control. The fear of making monkey sounds every time you hear a bell is real! The good doctor assures her that she is the only one who can control her subconscious mind. He does not laugh manically. He should but resist the temptation. 

Jenn, at the end of her resistance in life anyway, agrees to be hypnotised. The session goes well and Jenn keeps up the sessions for a few months, getting her life together and finding employment. 

Jenn and Gina meet up, Jenn updating Gina about her life. Gina asks her if she is still seeing Meade for sessions. Jenn tells her twice a week for the past few months. 

Gina complains that she only saw him twice for sessions. No hypnotherapy. She wishes he would deal with her phobia of spiders. Be careful of what you wish for…

Jenn dreams of the doctor that night. They are in bed together. He caresses and tells her she is perfect. The next day, Jenn bumps into Dr Collin in the mall. Alarms bells? No…he invites her for coffee. 

Jenn asks him about himself. He had been married but his wife died. He tells her about his mentor, Doctor Sullivan. 

He changes the subject, asking how her relationship with Brian is. She is avoiding him, fearful of the feelings she would have to face. The doctor advises her to invite him over for dinner. Jenn is not so sure but follows the doctor’s suggestion. 

On the way to the supermarket, Jenn listens to a message from Brian accepting her invitation. She gets a call from an anonymous number. Answering the call, she falls into a trance. 

She snaps out of the trance and finds herself at home sitting at the dinner table. She hears someone choking in her bathroom. 

She goes into the bathroom and finds Brian on the floor, gasping for air. She gets him to the hospital. Gina comes to see her. Jenn tells her that she cannot remember anything about the evening. 

At her next session, Meade asks about Brian. He is in a coma. Jenn thinks it might be her fault. Meade gaslights her, babbling on about ego and the battle against fear. She needs to trust him. Okay. That night, she has a dream-cum-memory about Meade again. 

Troubled by the dream, Jenn goes to the kitchen for a glass of water. She finds the receipt from her trip to the supermarket, the last thing she remembered before waking up at the dinner table. The receipt triggers her memory. She remembers cooking with sesame seed oil. 

A troubled Jenn researches the good doctor. She finds out about Andrea Bowen, a former patient, and reads some worrying articles about the dark side of hypnotism. She goes to see Gina to voice her concerns. Gina does not buy it. She is team Meade all the way. 

Jenn believes that Collin could be using his hypnotherapy sessions nefariously. Gina, – team Meade! Rah! Rah! Rah! – thinks she is being ridiculous. Jenn shows her multiple articles addressing the same subject. Gina is a little more open to the possibility of something murky about her favourite doctor. 

They both go to see detective Wade Rollins (Dule Hill). Rollins worked on the case of Andrea Bowen. Jenn tells him that she has had strange happenings, believing they may be connected to her sessions with doctor Meade. Rollins tells them that he interviewed Meade. The investigation was halted shortly afterwards. 

He shows them the CCTV of Andrea Bowen freaking out in the lift. Not very professional. He advises that they stay away from Meade. They leave the detective’s office. 

Gina is worried. She had spoken about Jenn in her last session with Meade. She had also been hypnotised. 

Jenn decides to arrange a session with Meade, planning to record the session on her phone. 

His interest piqued by the visit from the two women, Rollins investigates similar deaths and finds that all the victims look similar. All were former patients of Meade and had undergone hypnotherapy.

After the session, Jenn is listening to the recording she made. Meade knows what she has done and that they were at the police station. Realising that Gina is in danger, she calls her friend. Gina is driving with Scott in the car. She is expecting a business call. Jenn calls trying to tell her that Meade knows they are looking at him. 

Jenn’s call cuts out. Gina receives another call. It is Meade. He tells her this is how the world ends. Gina falls into a trance. She believes a tarantula is crawling on her. Scott, the poor guy, has no idea what is happening. Gina, petrified by the tarantula, that only she can see, floors the accelerator. They get hit by a truck and killed. 

Rollins goes to see Meade. He tells him that Gina and Scott died in a car accident. She had been a patient of his. Had he given her any hypnotherapy sessions? Just one. Their last session. The doctor offers Rollins a hypnosis session. Rollins declines, pointing out that he only works his hypnotherapy on female clients. The doctor tells him he would make an exception. 

Rollins visits Jenn. He believes Gina’s death was caused by Meade. He is a detective after all. He leaves her with files on the other cases. There is another knock on the door. Jenn opens the door thinking it is Rollins. 

It is Meade. He causes Jenn to freeze with a hypnotic command. Yes, really. 

Meade proceeds to lay out his plans to her, wittering on like the crazy, control freak he is. He explains that all of his extreme acts are for her. Meade leaves. Jenn immediately rings Rollins and gets his voicemail. 

Rollins gets home and settles down for the evening. He hears a sound in his apartment. A knife-wielding Tabby attacks him. She slashes at him and when he disarms her, bites him. Rollins eventually overcomes her, killing her with a blow. 

Jenn visits him in the hospital the next day. She tells Rollins that she wants to get hypnotised by another therapist to perhaps help her recall what happens in sessions with Meade. She goes and sees doctor Stella Graham (Tanja Dixon-Warren). 

Dr Stella gives her a version of the ‘with great power come great responsibility’ speech, pointing out that hypnotherapy can be used for good or bad. Thank you, Sherlock. 

She tells her that she will put her under for a gentle session. Stella begins and asks Jenn about her sessions with Meade. Jenn begins choking. 

She recalls an address and fragments of memories with Meade. Stella snaps her out of the trance. Stella tells her that Meade planted some fail-safe suggestions in her mind to prevent the sort of thing that they were attempting. 

Stella is not confident that she can combat Meade’s auto-suggestions but she might be able to create a fail-safe override herself. Jenn decides to follow a memory after finding some research about an old CIA program that Meade’s supposed mentor was a part of. 

The program was a series of experiments exploring the possibility of planting false memories in peoples minds. 

Jenn tells Rollins that she going to the address, even as he advises against it. At the remote house – of course, it is remote – Jenn searches for doctor Sullivan. She sees a picture of a dark-haired woman hugging Meade. The woman looks like her. Meade startles her, standing behind her as he points out how beautiful his wife was. 

The house is his, left to him by his father, the now-deceased doctor Sullivan. Oops. Meade puts Jenn into a trance. 

Rollins, who had run some fingerprints from a spoon he had lifted from Meade’s office, gets the results. They are for a Julian Sullivan. That’s the same name as the other doctor! He tries to contact Jenn but gets her voicemail. Rollins gets out of his hospital bed. 

Jenn wakes up in the therapist office. She calls Rollins and tells him what he already knows; Meade is a Sullivan. Truthfully, Rollins should be embarrassed that it took four murders, – nope five, can’t forget Scott – for them to find Meade’s true identity, especially as he as in the system!

Jenn tells him that she is in Meade’s office. Rollins sends a SWAT team to the offices of Meade. Meanwhile, Meade is, once again, boring Jenn with his story and recounting the first time he saw her. 

Rollins is racing to the offices. The SWAT team are there already, preparing to enter the office. Meade wakes Jenn up. She is still in the house, the office scenario was all in her mind. 

Rollins is told that there is no one in the offices. Rollins gets the address of the Sullivan residence and races over there. In the Sullivan house, Jenn realises that Meade had planted memories he had with his deceased wife, Amy(Jessie Fraser), in her mind. Yeah, he did that. 

Meade has dressed up Jenn in the image of his deceased wife. She is unable to move due to his auto-suggestions. Rollins is racing to the house. Meade is still babbling sweet nothings and making plans for the future with the captive Jenn as Rollins enters the house. 

Meade hears him enter the house and leaves Jenn alone, forcing her to grip the bed frame. Rollins looks for Meade. Meade attacks him and they fight. Rollins loses his gun in the fight.

Jenn is struggling to break the trance that is keeping her in the bedroom. As they fight, Jenn breaks the trance and finds them. Meade is strangling Rollins. Rollins tells her to grab his gun. Meade shouts the sleep command and Jenn struggles to stay awake, picking up the gun. 

She points the gun at the fighting men and pulls the trigger. She wakes up with Rollins looking after her. He tells her it is all over and she is safe. he calls her ‘my love’. 

Doctor Stella had placed an auto-suggestion in her mind. It would let her see clearly if those words were uttered by Meade. Yes, she did! Jenn realises it is Meade, not Rollins. 

She escapes his grasp and finds Rollins. Meade pursues her, quickly finding her with Rollins. Rollins tells her has another gun in his ankle holster. Jenn kills Meade. 

One month later, Jenn is getting some sort of normality back in her life. Brian is still in a coma. She apologises to him for their relationship falling apart. She goes and sees Rollins. He has been promoted. She thanks him. Rollins gives her a hypnosis CD. What a comedian. The end. 

Final thoughts: directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote and written by Richard D’Ovidio, Hypnotic is a good looking film and is competently directed. The script is quite good and almost makes up for the silly story. Almost. 

Mind control, hypnosis or remote possession has always been and will continue to be popular as a story element. The notion of being controlled by another is both the stuff of nightmares and dreams. 

Unfortunately, D’Ovidio’s story is too rushed, not allowing for any real buildup in tension. With a runtime of eighty-eight minutes, Hypnotic is not a long film but it is a little uneven. O’Mara’s Meade is the villain and fills the role comfortably but there is no subtlety in his villainy. 

Not that subtlety is necessary but the character and the speed at which he is accepted by the sceptical Jenn is not believable. The acting from all on show is good, with Lucie Guest particularly good as Gina, in a quite unforgiving role as the best friend. 

Unusually, the story, to its detriment, gives over almost half of its runtime to resolution. This affects the pacing and the emotional impact of the story, the set-up being too truncated for the viewer to care. 

Hypnotic is not a terrible film it is just a bit underwhelming. Hypnotic is watchable but by no means a must-watch. One you watch only if you watched all of your watchlist.

Legacy of Lies

Brief synopsis: An MI6 is tasked with collecting a piece of information whilst in Russia posing as a journalist. The information can expose Russian double agents working in America. The night he goes to retrieve the information, the mission goes awry and the love of his life is killed. 

Twelve years later, the now ex-agent and single father, finds himself pulled back into the world of espionage when he is tasked with retrieving the same information once again to save his daughter’s life. 

Is it any good?: Legacy of Lies is utter rubbish. Worse still, it is boring rubbish. The film lacks pace and the acting is so wooden one would think you were watching wardrobes speak. Scott Adkins has never been a particularly impressive thespian but his films are generally entertaining. Not this one. 

Spoiler territory: MI6 agent Martin Baxter (Scott Adkins) is in Kyiv in an old bus garage. He is there with a team to oversee an exchange. He watches as a woman, code-named Red Star (Anna Siettarova) makes her way to the centre of the garage. 

Red Star is met by a car. In the car are Egor Stepanenko (Andrey Say) and Olga (Tetiana Nosenko). Martin informs his team that Egor is not alone. Red Star talks to Olga at the car window. Egor gets shot and killed. Red Star is shot in the back by a sniper and then again by another shooter. 

Martin returns fire belatedly and then runs to get a better vantage point to kill the sniper. He calls to his team, wanting to know where his back up is. They are all dead. He sees the shooter of Red Star grab the package he had come to retrieve. Martin tries to stop him but seems unable to shoot straight because….it would end the film. 

He goes over to Olga in the car. She is understandably frightened but he tells her to stay put whilst he goes looking for the shooter with the package. The shooter sneaks up on him from ten metres away but is also a terrible shot, so misses him. Martin gets up on top of the derelict buses to get a better vantage point. 

He does not use the vantage point at all but does manage to get the drop on the shooter, killing him and retrieving the package. End of the film? Nope. Martin goes to get Olga. She is gone and shots ring out at Martin. 

Another shooter has Olga. He wants the package. He threatens, unsurprisingly, to kill Olga. Martin tells him to let her go because that always works. The shooter instead decides to prove he is not joking around and shoots Olga in the hip. For her part, she whimpers a bit. Quite impressive considering she just had hot lead explode through her hip. 

Martin drops his gun and takes the bag off to give to the shooter. As he throws the bag, he pulls another gun from his back and shoots. He wakes up to the memory twelve years later, on a rainy night in Peckham in his car. The years have been kind to him, as he does not look a day older. His daughter, Lisa (Honor Kneafsey) comes to the car. 

She is an irritatingly, precocious twelve-year-old and after boring him – and us – with her new diet, tells him about the opponent he is about to face in an unlicensed cage fight. Martin does not want to hear her advice. He gives her money to go and put a bet on him. She puts a bet on the other fighter. Martin fights and gets his ass whooped, having completely ignored his daughter’s advice. 

The bookie comes and gives Lisa the money. Martin realises that she bet against him and…well, there is not much he can do except take the ego crush and be glad for the money. Back home, dad of the year candidate Martin has got a prostitute (Viktoriia Retivova) to waste some of the money getting his face beat in earned him. 

Lisa is next door with a colouring book. Back in the bedroom, the prostitute wants to see Martin’s face whilst she works, okay…she switches on a bedside lamp. Martin sees a vision of Olga and freaks out. He kicks the prostitute out. Should have left the lights off. 

The next day, Martin is teaching Lisa how to use a handgun. – okay, full disclosure. I watched this film in three sittings as it was too awful to get through all at once, so the significance of this scene is almost forgotten by the time it becomes relevant. – He tells her she needs to use the sights to focus. 

Lisa tells him she wants to go to school, settle down. Martin, ever the agent and still coveting that dad of the year award, is all about the nomad life and moving every few months. Later, Martin leaves her alone as he goes to work. He works in a club as part of the security team. Breaking up a fight in the club, he starts beating on a patron who has the temerity to fight back.

The head bouncer (Sami Karim) comes and calms him down, throwing out the battered patron. Martin goes to the front desk and is doing bag checks. A young woman talks to him. She tells him they are in the same business and need to talk. Would that be the fight business? Anyhoo, Martin’s interest is piqued. Elsewhere, a lowly employee is putting the rubbish out. He gets bashed in the head by a gunman, who uses the entrance to get him and his fellow gunmen into the club. 

Back in the main club, Martin finds the girl. Her name is Sasha Stepanenko (Yuliia Sobol). She tells him that he knew her father. Martin says she must have him mixed up. Yeah, right. Sasha takes out her phone and shows him a photo of her father with him and Olga. 

She tells him she is a journalist and wants to get the files – it’s always bloody files – as they talk, the gunmen burst into the club and open fire, supposedly trying to kill Sasha but in truth just spraying bullets around indiscriminately and causing panic. Martin drags Sasha out of there, running to the kitchen.

They run through the kitchen and push kitchen staff out of the way and throw pans around in an effort to slow down the men with guns. The kitchen is huge and the two disappear into a room. Martin takes out the gunmen. Sasha, ungrateful wretch that she is, runs off. 

Martin returns home. He finds a couple of old faces in his kitchen. Trevor (Martin McDougall) and Edwards (Leon Sua), both CIA, have come to chat. They are there to warn him. He is not to get involved with the espionage game again. Trevor wants to know if Sasha mentioned the file. Of course he does. Martin tells him the Russians have it. 

Apparently, they don’t and they are looking for it, using nerve gas to get to it. What that has to do with anything is anyone’s guess. Lisa comes into the kitchen. Trevor lets on that the files probably contain information about her mother’s death. Lisa believes her mother died in a car accident. Thanks, Trevor and your big mouth! 

Martin kicks them out. He goes to try and console Lisa, who is crying at the revelation, feeling betrayed by her father’s lies. Martin sits in the dark remembering Olga and playing with the lamplight because….moody?

The next day, he tells Lisa to get packed. They are leaving. As he goes to pack the car, he gets knocked out by a Russian. In a warehouse, a blonde, Russian stereotype (Anna Butkevich), shoots a man hanging upside down in the head. Martin, who is tied to a chair and has a gag over his mouth is dragged into the room. 

The woman sits in front of him with a file. Different file, not the one everyone is after. One of her henchmen milks his moment, as she lights a cigarette, maintaining the stereotype, and rips the gag off of Martin’s mouth. She gives Martin the cigarette, which he promptly spits out. The henchman gets another chance to shine, giving him a gut punch for his brazen disrespect. 

She gets up and tells him she wants the files. Martin says he does not know about the files. She smashes his hand with a hammer. He tells her that the Russians have it, which is a bit stupid considering she is Russian. She smashes his hand again. She shows him a video feed of Lisa colouring in – the child loves a colouring book – Martin tells her he can get the file. 

Blonde stereotype contacts her superior (Anatolii Antoniuk). He tells her that he has twenty-four hours. She relays the information to Martin. She wants the file and the journalist, dead or alive. The journalist, not the file. They take him back to his car and throw him out. Edwards is watching. 

Martin drives off, followed by Edwards. Blonde stereotype talks to Lisa. Edwards contacts Trevor to update him on Martin’s movements. Martin goes to see Maxim (Victor Solé). He wants to know where Sasha is. Maxim is a little reticent. Martin pulls a gun. He wants his phone. Maxim hands over his phone and sounds a silent alarm. 

Unfortunately for Maxim, Martin has seen John Wick and budget versions his way out of the club, killing not only Maxim but multiple bouncers along the way. Back with Lisa and the stereotype Russian, they are watching boxing and Lisa is impressing her with her knowledge of the fight game. 

Martin finds Sasha. He is going to protect her. Sasha is determined to publish the files to avenge her father’s death. They need to go to a bank. The files’ codes are in a safety deposit box. Anything to make the McGuffin more important and interesting. Doesn’t work. Martin finds Trevor’s IT man (Tom Ashley) and forces him to show him the files from twelve years before. 

There are photographs of the entire scene from his failed mission – don’t know how – and Olga has the address of the bank in her hand having been given it by Red Star. Not convoluted at all…

Trevor comes back to the makeshift headquarters with a group of soldiers, realising Martin would be there. Martin manages to evade them but ends up fighting Edwards long enough for Trevor to return with the troops. 

Bested by Edwards temporarily, Martin kicks them both out of a window. The fall kills Edwards. Martin gets up and gets into the car Sasha is waiting in. They drive off. At a dilapidated house, Martin and Sasha hideout. Martin finds the codes have been changed. Trevor finds them. 

Sasha threatens to blow her own brains out if they do not let them leave. Trevor lets them escape. Sasha and Martin head to the airport. Trevor has one of his men following them but Martin manages to lose him. At the airport, he steals a passport off of a woman who looks like Sasha. 

He contacts the stereotype blonde, whose name is Tatyana, to try and get more time. They need to fly to Kyiv to retrieve the files. Tatyana gives the phones to Lisa in an attempt to remind Martin what is at stake. IT guy spots Martin and Sasha and tells Trevor they are going to Kyiv. Trevor’s people are watching at the airport. 

Martin and Sasha go to Sasha’s old family home. They watch a news broadcast about some cold war bollocks that does not move the plot along at all. Back with Tatyana and Lisa, Lisa’s fight prediction has made them both some money. Lisa wants to know the truth about her mother’s death. 

Tatyana tells her that it was an accident. Tatyana arrives in Kyiv with Lisa in tow. She calls and tells Martin she is waiting. Martin and Sasha head to the bank to get the files. Trevor and a group of troops arrive at the bank. Martin, seeing them, goes into the bank first. 

In the vault, Trevor is caught by Martin and forced to put in the code to access the box – yeah, I’m a bit lost as well and I’ve watched this film twice! – Martin uses Trevor as a hostage to escape the bank. They jump into a car and drive off. With gunfire having been in play, the police have turned up and give chase. They are terrible drivers and quickly crash ending their pursuit. 

Away from their pursuers, a shot Martin is fooled by Sasha, who grabs his gun and shoots him again, not believing his story about wanting to save his daughter. A semi-conscious Martin sees visions of Olga. He is roused into consciousness by Tatyana calling. He lies, telling her he has the file. She tells him to meet her later that night. 

Martin calls Trevor, desperate to find Sasha. Trevor is not very helpful or willing to help him get the file to the Russians. Martin sees a clue to Sasha’s whereabouts, she is using a rented car. He finds her through the car tracking. He races to a train station to find her. Martin, who is covered in blood, chases after, the obviously frightened, Sasha through the station. Nobody bats an eyelid. 

He catches up to her and chokes her unconscious. He goes to the meeting with Tatyana. He tells her that Sasha is in a hotel with the codes. He will give her address once Lisa is safe. Tatyana gives Lisa over to her father. He tells one of Tatyana’s henchmen the hotel’s address. 

Sasha is not at the hotel. On Martin’s signal, she shoots one of the henchmen. A shootout ensues. Tatyana takes Sasha hostage and tells Martin to give her the codes. Martin throws the case with the codes and goes to shoot Tatyana. Once again, he proves to be a man of poor judgement and gets shot again. 

Tatyana is about to kill Sasha but gets killed by Lisa – see, told you the lesson earlier was relevant – Trevor and his cronies turn up. They want the codes. Sasha takes the case and jumps into the river – they were on a bridge. 

Sometime later, Martin is recovering in a scummy military hospital, still in Kyiv. Lisa is living with a foster mother. Martin apologises for not telling her about her mother. Lisa goes and tells Trevor that she has information that he does not want getting out if anything happens to her or Martin. 

Sasha publicises the files and there are riots – though, truthfully, I’ve no idea if they are supposed to be related to the files – and she is interviewed on television. So there is that. More time passes, Lisa is in school and Martin is running a country restaurant. Sasha comes to visit them. She is still being watched by the Russians. They report back to the general. He says to proceed with the operation. The end. 

Final thought: Legacy of Lies is awful. Written and directed by Adrian Bol, it is a pedestrian and laboured film that cannot seem to make its mind up as to whether it is an action film or an espionage film and failing on both counts. 

Adkins is usually good value for money when it comes to action but the action scenes are so forgettable and badly paced that his greatest strength – his martial arts prowess – is completely negated. 

The old ‘file’ McGuffin is so overdone that to make it interesting the stakes have to be quite high. The daughter angle is supposedly the high stakes but one never gets the feeling that she is in any danger of not being saved. The dead mother angle did not work particularly well either. We did not know the mother so did not care about her.

The only time we see her was mostly as a ghoulish apparition of Martin’s mind with a gunshot wound in her head. Why everybody was after the file was never properly explained and its sudden importance twelve years after the event was stretching credulity. 

At only one-hundred-minutes long, Legacy of Lies is not an overly long film but due to its pacing, feels longer than it is. The acting, even from the young Honor Kneafsey, is uniformly uninspired. I think that it is probably the mundane script, where no character stands out and the focus is somewhat muddled. 

Legacy of Lies is too ham-fisted an effort to recommend. Give this one a miss.

Outside The Wire – review

Brief synopsis: In a war-torn future, a drone pilot is sent into the field after he disobeys an order, resulting in the death of two soldiers. He finds himself under the command of a top-secret sentient robot chasing after a warlord intent on destroying the world. Or so he is led to believe. 

Is it any good?: Nope. Outside The Wire is a convoluted mess and seems somewhat anti-American, though it proves not to be. Politics aside, Outside The Wire is too smart for its own good, layering red herring exposition upon red herring exposition and throwing in a McGuffin for good measure. 

At nearly two hours long, Outside The Wire is a bit of chore to sit through for a story that was better told back in 1983’s WarGames. 

Spoiler territory: it is the year 2035 and the US military are on a peacekeeping mission to prevent Russia from taking Ukraine back under its sovereignty. Sergeant Miller (Enzo Cilenti) is on the ground in Eastern Europe with a forty strong troop of soldiers. 

A terrorist faction, led by the elusive Victor Koval (Pilou Asbæk), is a constant threat. Miller and his men find themselves in a battle with some of the faction. The US has added robot soldiers, called Gumps, to their ranks. 

As the battle rages below, a couple of drone pilots, Harp (Damson Idris) and Bale (Kristina Tonteri-Young) watch the scene unfold from a quiet location in Nevada, controlling their drones from there.

On the ground, one of Miller’s men gets injured. He sends Gomez (Adam Fielding) out to try and rescue him, the rest of the battalion will give covering fire. A truck is approaching the area where Miller’s battalion is. Harp sees the truck and wants to engage believing it to be hostile. 

Miller tells him that two of his men are in the zone, he is not to engage. Harp wants to engage, asking Miller to fall back, reasoning the lives of the majority outweigh the needs of the two probable casualties. He asks Bale to contact their superior, captain Brydon (Henry Garrett) to override Miller’s orders. 

Brydon contacts Miller and is told about the injured soldier that Gomez is trying to rescue. Harp believes the battalion are in imminent danger and locks on to the truck. Miller refuses to give the order for a strike and Brydon agrees telling Harp to stand down. Harp releases his missile, destroying the truck and killing two soldiers. 

Harp faces disciplinary action over his disregard of orders. Having never seen any military action in the field, he is sent to meet captain Leo (Anthony Mackie). Harp finds himself flying to a US base in Eastern Europe to report to Leo. Harp is told by colonel Eckhart (Michael Kelly) where he can find Leo. 

Leo is in a remote part of the encampment, a section where they work on the Gumps. Harp finds Leo in a large library inputting data whilst listening to jazz music. Harp introduces himself to a typing Leo. He ignores Harp as he finishes the task he has at hand. Finishing, Leo looks up and recounts Harp’s life to him. He knows who he is and why he is there. 

Leo gets up and tells Harp to bring some packages from a fridge. He puts the packages in a backpack as he tells Harp what he does there. He delivers vaccines to those who need them ‘outside the wire’; the region of the country the US does not patrol. Harp will be going with him. 

He asks Harp if he has heard of Victor Koval. Harp says he has. Leo enlightens him on the entire picture of Koval, that he has been responsible for thousands of deaths and, more pertinently, he is trying to get hold of the codes for all of Russia’s nuclear warheads. 

He tells him that they are going on the mission immediately and he needs to change out of his military garb. As Leo gets changed Leo sees that he is not human. Leo is an android. A shocked Harp stares at Leo in wonderment. Leo asks him if he thinks he can trust him. Harp says he thinks he can. 

The two go an join a convoy to begin the mission. Before they leave, Leo goes to take care of something else. Harp gets jumped by some soldiers and beat up a little. Miller comes and asks if he recognises his voice. He tells him the two soldiers who died because of him, were only nineteen years old. Leo returns, Miller and the soldiers stand down. 

The convoy head out. Leo warns him that where they are heading is notoriously dangerous and the situation spontaneous. As they drive, Leo asks Harp about his life and his fiancé. He ribs him a bit. They travel through the war-torn regions outside of the military enclosure. The come across a blockade. 

A group of Ukrainians are having food passed out to them by militia from a hijacked food truck. The ragtag militia faces off against the convoy. One of the Gumps shoots one of the Ukrainians. Leo, who had not left his jeep, gets out to calm the situation. He tells Miller to tell his men to lower their weapons and approaches the militia. 

Leo manages to find an accord with the militia and the convoy begins to retreat. Both groups are attacked by a third group. Leo tells Miller that they are going to go ahead on foot. He and Harp grab the vaccines and leave. Away from the firefight, Leo believes Koval is getting closer to his objective. 

As they walk, Leo tells Harp that the reason he looks like he does, the highest possible military-technical representation of US might, is because he expresses neutrality. The enemy will not feel threatened by him. They are heading to a shelter run by the Resistance. As they get to the camp, Leo is beckoned through. 

Inside the camp, a man is watching the two men. Leo delivers the vaccines to a doctor. The man who was watching, trains a gun on them, watching through a scope. He contacts Koval. Koval tells him to kill them both. The man shoots a nurse, causing panic in the hospital. Leo shoots the sniper, wounding him. 

He tortures the sniper, wanting to get information but he refuses to speak. Leo, much to Harp’s horror, leaves the man to be beaten to death by people in the camp. Harp wants to call back to base for back up but Leo tells him it will take too long. Harp thinks Leo is going rogue and threatens to report him.

A reluctant Harp is forced to follow Leo. Harp asks Leo what he is. He is a combat soldier he tells him but can act for himself when required to. Harp thinks that emotion makes people fallible. They reach their destination, a place where Leo is to get intel on Koval’s whereabouts. 

It is an encampment where orphaned children are looked after. The encampment is run by Sofiya (Emily Beecham). Leo wants Koval’s location. She tells them that Koval is close to acquiring the codes he needs for the missiles. The person with the knowledge for the code exchange is an arms dealer, Oshlak (Velibor Topic). Sofiya tells them they will need weapons. 

She can supply them as she is also an arms dealer. Leo tells Sofiya that Harp is a drone-pilot. Harp, who is outside watching the children play, is told by Sofiya that many of the kids he is watching were orphaned by drone bombs. 

They go to meet Oshlak. Oshlak’s men try to stop them. Leo beats up and kills them. He gets information about Koval from Oshlak. Sofiya kills Oshlak. Leo and Harp head to the location. On the drive, Leo has Harp cut out his shutdown switch, telling him that the Russians can track him. 

They arrive at a bank where Koval’s men have taken all the employees’ hostage. The codes are in the bank’s vault. Leo directs Harp to contact Eckhart and get the hostages out of the bank. He goes after Koval. Harp contacts Eckhart and tells him that they are at the bank. Eckhart sends Gumps. Some of Koval’s men come out of the bank with hostages in tow. 

Gumps purchased by Koval join the battle. Eckhart tells Harp that they going to take out Koval. They are sending a drone. Leo pursues one of Koval’s men who has the codes. He kills him and gets the codes back. The drone bombs the building. 

Leo and Harp survive. Harp realises that Leo has a different plan when he says they are not taking the codes back. Leo knocks him unconscious and leaves him. Harp wakes up and is grabbed by some militia. Leo goes to see Koval. 

The militia that grabbed Harp work for Sofiya. She tells him that Koval is alive. He was never in the bank. Leo asks Koval why he tried to kill him. Harp tell Sofiya that she is foolish to trust Leo. Leo wants Koval to give him the location of the Soviet nukes. Sofiya knows Leo’s plan and believes in it. He is going to launch a nuclear strike on the US. 

Leo kills Koval and all of his men. Sofiya releases Harp. Harp is picked up by Eckhart. He tells him that Leo is not destroyed and plans to launch a nuclear strike on the US. With his chip mistakenly disabled by Harp, Harp calls Bale to track Leo’s car by drone. He goes after him. 

Harp gets to the nuclear plant. Leo is already there, multiple bodies of Koval’s men evidence of that. Harp finds him preparing to launch the missiles. Leo chokes him unconscious. He returns to preparing for the launch. Bale has a lock on the silo. Eckhart radios Harp, rousing him. He tells him that the drone is locked on the plant. 

Harp damages Leo with a rocket launcher. He asks why he wants to launch an attack on the US. Leo says it is the only way to stop a war. Eckhart wants to know if Leo is in the silo. They are going to strike the silo. Harp leaves the silo as Bale shoots. 

Harp escapes the explosion and returns to base. He is granted leave to return home. The end. 

Final thoughts: on second viewing, Outside The Wire is worse than I remembered. It is such a mess of a film and elicits scant emotion making it difficult to care about what is going on. The acting is fine from all on show but, as I said, with so little emotional involvement in proceedings it is difficult to appreciate. 

The story by Rob Yescombe, who also wrote the screenplay with input from Rowan Athale, is unnecessarily complex. The villain in Asbæk’s Koval is not introduced until fifteen minutes before the end of the film and is then promptly killed. Sure, his name is bandied about and loads of atrocities are attributed to him, but in the context of the film, it does help one to know who he is. 

The action scenes are surprisingly lacklustre, probably because Mackie’s Leo is an unstoppable android and everyone he attacks, fights or kills is only in the film to increase the body count. The directing by Michael Håfstrõm is competent but pedestrian, the story lacking any sort of urgency. 

Watching the film for a second time was a punishment and not at all enjoyable on any level. Scoring a reasonable five-point-four on IMDB, with a nearly two-hour runtime, I can only put that down as generous. Outside The Wire was outside of my comfort zone but not in a good way. Give it a miss.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Brief synopsis: successful blues singer, Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), heads north to Chicago to meet up with her band to make a recording of some of her songs. One of her band, Levee (Chadwick Boseman) causes a rift with his ambition and passion.

Is it any good?: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a little too stagey and more of a collection of monologues than a coherent story or film. From a play written by August Wilson, the screenplay by Ruben Santiago-Hudson does nothing to disguise the stage play roots. 

With good performances from everybody on show and standout performances from Davis and Boseman in his final film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a watchable film but not a must watch film. 

Spoiler territory: in a tent, down south in America, 1927, black people come from all around to see blues singer Ma Rainey perform. The tent is packed out and Ma Rainey is performing to great acclaim in front of an appreciative crowd. 

With emancipation having happened in the north, black people had begun to migrate in numbers in search of work and a new life. Ma Rainey’s reputation and fame continued to grow down south, her and the band playing in bigger venues. 

At one of the shows, her trumpeter, Levee, steps into the spotlight, add-libbing a solo. A little while later, the band arrive in Chicago. They are there for a recordIng session at Sturdyvant’s (Jonny Coyne) Hot Rhythm studio. 

Ma’s manager, Irving (Jeremy Shamos), is at the studio preparing for their arrival. Sturdyvant is not especially happy about the upcoming arrival of Ma. He finds her difficult. 

Three of the band arrive. Cutler (Coleman Domingo), Toledo (Glynn Turman) and Slow Drag (Michael Potts) and are greeted by Irving. He wants to know where Ma is. She has not arrived yet.

Levee is not there either. On the streets of Illinois, Levee is admiring a pair of shoes. The band settle into the studio and get ready to rehearse.

Levee arrives. He bought the shoes and makes a show of putting them on. It is hot in Chicago. Levee goes to open a door but finds it locked. He does not remember it being locked the last time he was there and remarks on how everything has changed. 

Toledo tells him things always change. Levee, a young abrasive trumpet player, starts to tell the rest of the band that he is going to have his own band. 

Cutler, who is the de facto leader of the band, tells him that they are an accompaniment band. They play Ma’s music, how she wants it. Levee tells them he has a new, more upbeat arrangement for one of her songs. Cutler says they cannot do his arrangement. Irving comes into the room.

He is looking for Ma. Cutler tells him she has not arrived yet. He asks about the arrangement. Irving tells him they are going with Levee’s arrangement. 

In town, Ma is seeing a different kind of black people to the ones she is used to down south. She walks around a tea house with her nephew, Sylvester (Dusan Brown) and niece, Dussie Mae (Taylour Paige). The black people watch Ma and her charges as though they were curiosities. Ma returns to her car. 

Back in the studio space, the band are ribbing Toledo about his old shoes. Levee starts dancing. Toledo cautions them against only looking for fun as black people suffer the world over. They start talking religion. Levee insists that he has no time for God. 

Outside the studio, Ma as arrived but Sylvester has had an accident with another car. Irving comes out of the studio to find Ma arguing with a policeman. Irving nervously intervenes and smooths things over. Inside the studio, an irritable Ma has Irving scurrying around for a fan. 

Dussie, an attractive girl, uses her looks to curry favour with her aunt and asks for new shoes. Ma tells her she will get her some new things. She tells Sylvester he will get some things to. 

He is also going to do a bit on the recording. Music is playing; Levee’s version of Ma’s Black Bottom. Ma asks Irving about it. He tells her that people want to hear a more upbeat sound. Ma is not changing her arrangement. She will sing the song how she originally wrote it. 

She tells Irving to take Sylvester to meet the band and tell them that he is doing the intro to the recording. She decides to go and introduce him herself. She also tells Cutler that they are doing the song to her arrangement with Sylvester doing the intro. Levee tries to protest but Ma is having none of it. 

Ma leaves and a frustrated Levee voices his frustrations. Cutler tells Sylvester the opening he needs to say and asks him to repeat it back to him. Sylvester begins to speak and the band realises he has a stutter. Levee laughs, asking how Cutler plans to sort out the intro. Sturdyvant comes down to the studio. 

Levee approaches him with some of his songs. Sturdyvant takes the songs and leaves. The rest of the band laugh at Levee’s subservient attitude towards Sturdyvant. 

Levee takes offence and tells them he acts how he needs to around white people to get what he needs. He tells them that he learned how to do so from his father who he had seen smile in the faces of the men who sexually assaulted his mother and then return at a later date to try and exact revenge on them. 

Cutler tells Irving that Sylvester cannot do the part. As the band rehearse, Ma sees Levee eyeing Dussie. She tells Cutler to warn him. They get ready to record and Ma wants Sylvester to do his part first.

Irving tells her he cannot do it. Ma insists on him getting a microphone and doing the part. Sturdyvant tries to complain about the cost and she reminds him that she makes more money for him than all his other acts put together. 

There is another hiccup. Irving did not get any Coke. Ma stops the session and sends Slow Drag and Sylvester out to get some. Ma speaks to Cutler, unhappy about having to fight to get Sylvester on the record as she obviously knows the boy has a stutter. Dussie goes to find Levee and flirts with him. 

Ma explains to Cutler that she understands that the only reason Sturdyvant or any white people put up with her, is because of her voice and she makes them money. 

That includes her manager Irving. Levee continues to charm Dussie, telling her he is going to form his own band. The two get frisky. Ma and Cutler speak about the blues and the meaning of the music to black people. 

Slow Drag and Sylvester return with the Cokes. Levee and Dussie’s union is interrupted as he needs to return to the recording. Sylvester, unsurprisingly, struggles to get the intro out. 

He nails it after multiple takes and the band strike up, Ma singing the song perfectly in one take. Unfortunately, Sylvester’s microphone’s wire is frayed and they did not get the recording. 

A frustrated Ma leaves the studio. She is going home. Irving begs her to stay. He will sort everything out in fifteen minutes. Ma stays. The band takes a break. Cutler tells Levee he needs to leave Dussie alone. Levee lies, saying he only ever asked her her name. Toledo tells him that he understands how he could become foolish over a woman. 

Cutler tells Levee that his roving eye is going to get him fired. Levee argues with the rest of the band about their acceptance of their lot in life and how he plans to be respected by white people. Cutler tells the group about a black reverend who had been forced to dance at gunpoint and ridiculed for his belief in God. 

Levee challenges Cutler, asking where was God when that man needed help. He tells Cutler that God hates black people. Cutler punches him and the two scuffle. 

The other band members separate them. Levee pulls a knife and goes for Cutler. Cutler manages to avoid getting stabbed. An angry Levee asks God where he was when his mother was calling out for his help.

They return to the recording room. They record the track perfectly. Ma asks Levee why he felt the need to embellish. He tells her he likes to add his own flavour. It quickly escalates to an argument and Ma fires him. 

An angry Levee leaves the recording room, returning to the rehearsal room. Upstairs, Irving tells Ma that Sturdyvant does not want to pay Sylvester. She tells him to get the boy’s pay. Sturdyvant quickly comes around to Ma’s way of thinking and pays Sylvester. 

He needs Ma to sign the music release forms. Ma leaves, Irving chasing after her asking her to sign the forms. She tells him to send them to her home. She warns Irving that she will record elsewhere in future if there are any more hiccups. 

The band get ready to leave and Sturdyvant pays them. Levee speaks to Sturdyvant, asking if he can get a recording session. Sturdyvant tells him he will buy the songs but does not want to record them. They do not sound right. Levee’s argument to convince him otherwise falls on deaf ears. 

A despondent Levee returns to the rehearsal room. Toledo accidentally steps on his new shoes. He apologises. Levee is riled up and wants a more fulsome explanation for the transgression. Toledo dismisses him, packing up his things and turning to leave. Levee stabs him in the back, killing him. 

Ma is being driven home, unaware of what has happened back at the studio. Levee cradles the dead Toledo. An all-white band record a version of Black Bottom. The End. 

Final thoughts: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is most notable for being Chadwick Boseman’s final film. Directed by George C Wolfe, it does flow nicely and looks great. 

Regrettably, as a Boseman’s last film, it is not a masterwork. Boseman is excellent in it and, if anything, it is almost sadder to see that his obvious talent was extinguished so prematurely. 

Viola Davis matches Boseman with a captivating performance as the bigger than life Ma Rainey. Such is the power of her performance it will have you looking into the real-life Rainey. 

As I alluded to earlier, the film is too obviously based on a stage play, the screenplay putting the monologue style of stage work to the fore. 

The story is centred around the recording studio but seems a little truncated, the whole story not told. Though the original August Wilson play was written in 1984, it is set in the twenties and, as such, reflects the black sensibilities of that time. 

The outlook is quite bleak and needy, with even the successful Rainey knowing that her acceptance is only because of her voice. 

The appropriation of black music by whites is not new and still happens to this day and is the underlying theme of the film. There is also a veiled dig at the blind faith shown in a Christian god that has never favoured black people. 

At ninety-four minutes long, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is not a long film and whizzes through its runtime fairly quickly but suffers a little from having too much story to tell in its runtime. As I wrote earlier, the film is not bad but it is not great either. 

Is it worth watching? For the performances of not just Boseman and Davis, but the whole cast, yes. As an enjoyable ninety-minute-plus film it is not a must-see.

The Wrong Missy – review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: After suffering a traumatic blind date experience, a single man encounters the woman of his dreams a few months later whilst on his way to a cross-state meeting. High jinx ensues when he mistakenly ends up asking the former blind date to accompany him on a work retreat instead of the woman of his dreams.

Is it any good?: No. Fifty-two people have somehow managed to give this a six on IMDB. I can only believe that they all worked on the film. This film is shockingly bad and not particularly funny, a bare minimum for a comedy. I suppose it was always going to be a tall ask if you put David Spade in the lead role.

Spoiler territory: Tim Morris (David Spade) walks into a bar and is messaged by his blind date. She tells him she is at the bar but is getting bothered by a guy. Tim spots a woman at the bar speaking to a burly guy and approaches.

He taps the woman on the shoulder and she turns to him. She is pregnant. Hilarious, obviously. Tim ploughs on, telling her that their table is ready. The guy asks him what he is doing? The woman is with him. Tim says to him that he does not want to make a scene. The man stands up and – big shock – towers over Tim. As he threatens to pound Tim, another woman interrupts.

Melissa (Lauren Lapkus) says she is the real date, saving Tim from a beating. As they make their way to the table, Melissa tells him she deliberately sent him to the large guy as an ice-breaker and to test him. She, who prefers to be called Missy – hence the ‘brilliant’ title – thinks it is hilarious. As do we.

Missy is…odd. An extrovert and gregarious, she talks nonstop, her verbal diatribe oblivious to the reactions of other people. Missy continues to babble on at the increasingly confused Tim. She tells him that they are perfect for one another because his grandmother told her so.

When Tim tells her that he does not drink, Missy assumes it is because he is a recovering alcoholic. Tim tries to tell her different. She pursues random reasoning as to why he does not drink. She switches her attention back to how perfect they are for one another. She then initiates a one-sided argument with the big guy at the bar, telling him that Tim is going to beat him up.

Tim makes an excuse and disappears to the bathroom. In the bathroom, he is caught by Missy as he tries to climb out of the window. He tells her he was going to come back into the restaurant, through the front entrance, to surprise her. This explanation is good enough for Missy and she leaves the bathroom. Tim falls out of the window and dislocates his ankle.

Missy, who is an expert at so many random things, resets his ankle. Three months later, a still single Tim is at work. His friend from the HR department, Nate (Nick Swardson), comes and tells him that he has news about the merger. Someone has been let go and he is in line for a promotion. His only competition is Jess, who is nicknamed the barracuda because….because it is funny…somehow.

Also, Tim’s ex-fiancée, Julia (Sarah Chalke), is going to be at the work retreat with her new boyfriend Rich (Chris Witaske). Tim tells him that since it is mandatory to go to the retreat, he will just have to accept it. Nate tries to tell him he needs to start dating again. Tim heads to the airport for a work trip.

Whilst walking through the airport, he bumps into a woman and both drop their belongings. As they exchange apologies, Tim is taken by her beauty. They gather their things and head to their respective gates. At the gate, Tim realises he has the wrong boarding card and goes to find the woman he bumped into.

At the other gate, he meets Melissa (Molly Sims), who is waiting for him at the gate, having also realised that she had the wrong boarding pass. The two have a drink and find they have a lot in common, really getting along well. They get along so well that they almost get amorous in a cleaning closet but are stopped by her needing to catch her flight.

Tim gives her his phone number and she sends her number to him. He catches his flight and is alone in his hotel room reading when he decides he wants to text her. He sends her a message and gets an immediate reply.

They keep texting through the evening. Later, Tim is in bed watching television and she texts. What is he wearing? Pyjamas. She asks for a dick pic. He is not sure but sends her the picture.

The next day, back in the office, Nate, who is privy to every aspect of Tim’s digital life – because of the hilarity that brings to the film – comments on his dick pics. He wants to see a picture of Melissa so they go and find her on the internet.

It turns out, she was a beauty queen in Maryland. Jess comes over to the two men. She tells them that when she becomes president they won’t be able to get away with so much.

Nate says to Tim that he has to invite Melissa to the retreat in Hawaii. He invites her and she accepts. Nate tells him that he will get them seated next to one another on the plane. On the plane, a nervous Tim is waiting for Melissa to turn up.

He has bought her flowers and has groomed himself for the occasion. Missy turns up. She is in the seat next to him and is just as wild and crazy as the last time they met. Tim realises he has been messaging the wrong Melissa. He is about to tell her that but she tells him she was about to jump off of a bridge when he texted her and so saved her life.

Missy gives Tim a dog tranquilliser because….it’s in the script? He wakes up to her giving him a handjob mid-flight. Tim is a little perturbed. The plane hits some turbulence, causing Tim to ejaculate and the laughs keep coming.

They get to Hawaii and as they go to check into the hotel, Missy ends up in an argument with three children who she swears at and verbally abuses. So there is that. They run into Tim’s ex, Julia, and her partner, Rich, at the reception. Missy notes the sexual energy between Julia and Tim. Rich, helpfully, tells her that they were engaged.

They go to the room and Tim tries to broach the subject of his mix up but Missy does not stop talking. Tim has to go to the company mixer, so leaves her in the room. At the mixer, their new boss, Winstone (Geoff Pierson), addresses all of the staff. He tells them he wants to meet all of them and their partners.

Tim tells Nate about his text mistake. Nate introduces Tim to Winstone, who immediately calls him Jim. What a card. Nate has been talking up Tim’s girlfriend, thinking he was bringing Melissa. He tells Tim that Winstone’s wife was Miss Texas. Winstone boasts how she was formally the girlfriend of Evander Holyfield. A strange boast indeed.

Tim tells the gathered that Missy is feeling poorly and probably will not be around. She immediately makes an appearance in a rainbow sequinned dress. Tim takes her to one side and asks her to tone down her exuberance. Nate comes to find him later and asks him to stop Missy as she is fortune-telling all of the employees in the company.

Tim stops her doing that but she goes on to party harder than anybody else in attendance. Later in the day, as Tim tries to bond with Winstone, he is told that Missy is going to dive off of a cliff. He goes and tries to stop her. She tells him that everyone thinks she is an expert diver and, as there are no diving boards, she will just have to dive off of a cliff.

Tim tells her that she should not do it. She jumps off the cliff and crashes into the rocks and trees and hits the sand below. Unfortunately, she does not die and the film continues. Tim takes a drunken Missy back to the hotel room and puts her on the bed. He lays on the bed next to her and is woken up in the middle of the night to her riding him violently.

Tim sneaks out of the room the next morning, going to a work’s yacht excursion hoping to see sharks. Missy comes running as the boat is casting off and jumps into the water and swims to the boat. The captain of the yacht is Komante (Rob Schneider).

Winstone asks Tim to come down into the shark tank with him. Missy goads him into going into there tank even though he is reluctant. His reluctance is because he is claustrophobic.

Komante tests his oxygen tank, putting the breathing apparatus in his mouth multiple times. It’s supposedly funny. The two men go into the cage. Missy finds some chum to throw into the water, even though there is a sign to not do that. Komante fights with her, trying to wrest the bucket of chum from her. It spills on Missy and she vomits over the shark cage. This causes a shark to come. Yes, yes it does.

The shark attacks. Tim escapes back to the yacht. Komante, whose hand is disfigured from a shark attack, punches the shark. Winstone is pulled out of the water, half-drowned. Missy revives him because she is an expert in CPR. obviously. Tim and Missy argue and she storms off. Melissa texts Tim.

Back at the hotel, Tim tells Missy he has to go to a meeting about the show he has to do as part of the weekend. She goes to the spa. Tim tells Nate that Missy went to the spa with his neighbour. Nate tells him that their neighbour is Winstone. She has gone with Barbara (Arlene Newman), his wife. Tim goes to try and stop her but is too late.

Tim wants to find out what Missy said to Barbara. She tells him she is a qualified marriage guidance councillor. Tim says she might need help as she wanted to jump off of a bridge. She tells him that she was bungee jumping. She tells him that she told Barbara to leave her husband. He informs her that Barbara is his boss’ wife.

Missy goes to talk to Winstone in the pool and ends up injuring him. She tells him she is a chiropractor and goes to his room to help him. Tim thinks he is going to get fired and prepares to leave for Portland. Missy tells him she has smoothed things over. She tells him that Winstone loves him.

It is the evening show time and Tim and Jess have competing shows. Tim goes on first and the show is terrible but Winstone loves it. Missy tells Tim that she hypnotised him into thinking Tim is his grandmother and hating Jess. Tim’s evening goes really well and he and Missy are beginning to get on, him seeing her in a different light.

Julia comes to see Tim but meets Missy. The two women bond. When Tim returns, Missy offers Tim the chance for a threesome. As the three get amorous, Tim and Missy keep accidentally excluding Julia by hitting her every time she approaches them. It is truly hilarious to somebody but not if you’re watching the film. Julia leaves unnoticed.

The next morning, Tim and Missy go for a walk on the beach. Tim gets the promotion due to Missy’s hypnotism. An angry Jess tells Missy that she is only there by mistake. A morose Missy sees the texts on Tim’s phone and decides to leave. Tim tries to catch her but meets Melissa in the foyer.

They go to dinner and he gets drunk and walks on his hands falling out of the window. He dislocates his ankle and tells Melissa he thinks he is falling in love with Missy. Tim returns to Portland. He tries to text Missy but she refuses to talk to him. He breaks Winstone trance and loses his job.

Tim sets up another blind date and accidentally sends her to Vanilla Ice – playing himself – as a joke. Tim steps in and tells her he sent the text. Ice tells her he did. They get back together. The end.

Final thoughts: The Wrong Missy is poor. It is not the worse comedy I have seen – step forward Handsome, The Spy Who Dumped Me and the truly awful The Little Hours – but that does not mean one should watch it. David Spade is not a lead actor or even a lead. He has been in a lot of comedy, none of it particularly high brow but he has been an amusing sidekick or secondary character in many shows and projects.

Spade is required to carry this film and it is just too awful and hefty a burden to bear. Lauren Lapkus is believable as the truly irritating and borderline psychotic Missy but is just wasted in this one-toned farce – and I don’t mean ‘farce’ in a good way!

Written by Chris Pappas and Kevin Barnett, The Wrong Missy is a mess of a film that cannot decide what kind of funny it wants to be. None of the humour works, visual or written. Spade’s Tim finds himself accosted by the crazy Lapkus’ Missy, a premise that has been utilised in much better comedies before, Bringing Up Baby to name one such classic.

What made those work so well, besides a far superior script and better pacing, was that the only characters who were unusual or eccentric were the central ones. In The Wrong Missy, most of the characters are foolish, playing it for comedic effect. Directed by Tyler Spindel, the direction is okay. It is not good and does not aid the ‘comedy’ at all.

At ninety minutes long, The Wrong Missy – haw haw, great title. No – is not a long film, yet I still had to pause it halfway through to take a mental break from the torture of it. Somehow, it has managed to garner a six-point score on IMDB. Three would have been generous. I gave it a two and that is only because it does not overstay its welcome. Do not watch this film.