New from Al and Linda Lerner on Movies and Shakers:

Movies and Shakers April 15, 2021

The plot is pretty simple, but unfortunately, it’s packed with too many trite film techniques. Morgan Freeman didn’t have to raise his voice or lift a foot, but he still exhibits power that stretches the film’s credulity. He’s Damon, the hero cop and former police commissioner now in a wheelchair after an assassination attempt. He knows where all the bodies are buried and put some there too. 

Victoria (Ruby Rose) has a past and it’s not very pretty. She was a drug courier for the Russians. She and Damon have history. To complicate matters, Victoria is a single Mom with sick daughter, Lily (Juju Journey). Damon hides Lily as collateral to coerce Victoria to pick up bags filled with money from 5 dangerous spots. He’s connected to a band of corrupt cops and wants Victoria to make these collections for him. Damon keeps repeating that if she completes all 5 tasks, everything will turn out fine. She will get Lily safely back. 

Let the games begin! Victoria is one tough cookie, who takes no prisoners. She knows these ne’er do wells and they know her. She has a cold, hard, lethal reputation. One standout line, and there weren’t many, brought a chuckle. Coming from one of her targets, “I hear you killed more people than Quentin Tarantino.”

Violence or the threat of it is a constant. Victoria carries two guns on her back and there are scenes where the bad guys don’t bother to notice she’s carrying so much heat. And it’s exposed. It doesn’t make sense. There is a high body count and just when you think she’s cornered, she miraculously survives. 

Victoria’s motorcycle stunts are impressive. Writer/Director George Gallo gives Damon technology that lets him see every turn she takes from many angles, even coaching her to go right or left in the midst of long high speed chases. Making him that omnipotent is a bit much. 

This film was originally called The Longest Night because it all takes place in one night which is indeed one long slog. Director George Gallo uses every filmmaking device at some point in the movie, from changing from black and white to color, using blurred prism filters for altered states in drug scenes, slo mo for no reason, and absolutely implausible motorcycle chases. The film even ends with an obvious, nonsensical rap song that comes out of nowhere to play over the credits. 

Even more curious is why Gallo replays scenes and dialogue that you’ve just seen in the last few minutes like they’re running through Victoria’s mind. Put in for drama, emphasis or filler? Whatever the reason, they were unnecessary and if this  was supposed to be artistic, it wasn’t. We’ll give him credit for using lighting and shadows to create effectively to create suspense, but even that is overused. 

There is some definite background missing and some religious overtones with a crooked priest. Late in the game, there’s a corrupt political angle in a scene with a Governor named Ann Driscoll, played by Julie Lott. It seems like an add-on that wasn’t really necessary. 

Despite all the violence, you know that the hard-driving Victoria has to survive. You know that this dirty cop revenge thriller is going to build to a climax and with Morgan Freeman, it’s a doozy. It’s as if everything they could think of, was put in this film, unnecessarily. It just takes way too long to get there. 

Lionsgate      1 hour 36 minutes        R

In select theaters April 16th.  Streaming on demand April 20th. 

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