Who would have thought that a movie ostensibly about seeking enlightenment could be so soulless? Sure, the athletics of the film are filmed brilliantly, but there isn’t a dram of emotion amid the clunky bromance script.
As Ericson Core’s (Invincible) second major film, it is quite the visual achievement. His long history as cinematographer really comes to the fore in his production. But, as a story-teller, there is no sense of place, time, or reason to the character choices, despite a thin veneer of plot. This is as much on writer Wimmer (Total Recall), who had no idea what to do with the original material to update it, nor any sense to research his choices. Most of the gaffs could have been fixed with minor changes, but if you can’t even write a decent romance plot, why bother making the legal/action one accurate?
The cast try to work with what they have mightily. Well, Edgar Ramirez (Zero Dark Thirty) does anyway. His Bodhi is tense, but centered, providing the glue and focus for his team and Luke Bracey’s (The November Man) Utah. But the connection between the two, which is so necessary not only for the spine of the movie, but essential for the ending, never materializes. Even with the ministrations of Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies) to potentially fill in the gaps.
Supporting the main cast are some interesting smaller parts, none of which really amount to much. Ray Winstone (Noah) and Max Thieriot (Bates Motel) at least get to develop a little and have some fun. On the other hand, Delroy Lindo, is just abused in his role.
Tackling what many feel is a classic out of the same era that brought us Top Gun, and eventually franchises like xXx, is never an easy job. But this is another lesson in remakes that weren’t really needed nor even really wanted. The box office on that proved it out. Unless you really just want to watch a series of staged ESPN segments of extreme sports, feel free to skip past this offering; it isn’t worth your time.