Lionsgate 95 Minutes R
This is a bizarre movie. It’s an absurd film full of weed and blood and we liked it! This is Jesse Eisenberg’s first foray in an action adventure. It’s also a comedy and there are some laughs, but it’s so out there, that we heard more nervous giggles than guffaws. Even though this is filled with cartoon violence and bloodshed it still created a nice tension that held our attention.
Eisenberg (The End of the Tour, The Social Network), plays Mike, a convenience store clerk in a small town and a stoner. He’s living and getting high on a regular basis with the love of his life and protector, Phoebe, played by Kristen Stewart (The Twilight series, Still Alice). She seems more understanding than any girlfriend should be. The opening scenes have them scrubbing their dream trip to Hawaii because he’s having another anxiety attack. They are truly the perfect messed up couple, but endearing and engaging in a strange way.
We soon find out that young Mike has powers even he didn’t know he had. He was programmed in a high level CIA project, but what he did, and who he is, has been virtually erased. He’s now the target of a government plot to eliminate him. He passes the time in the convenient store drawing a cartoon ape, named Apollo, which comes playfully into play later. Wouldn’t be totally surprised if his cartoon creation becomes a character on its own.
Topher Grace (Interstellar) plays Adrian Yates, the self proclaimed head of the elaborate mission to off Mike. He’s obviously in over his head calling out all the heavy duty equipment and forces to get to him. That’s when the chase begins. This film is tense, edgy and violent, but Mike’s programming to kill kick in. He has nine lives in this flick. Connie Britton (American Horror Story, Nashville) as Victoria Lasseter, knows Mike’s history and is trying to protect him.
There are numerous explosions, fires, broken glass, gun battles, choppers, tanks, car crashes and more. It’s mayhem. The black light scene is striking.
Stewart and Eisenberg said they really liked working together. Stewart calls Eisenberg smart. Eisenberg thinks she’s a great actress and they connected with a similar sense of humor. The cast loved Director Nima Norizadeh’s style. He’s known as a commercial and music video director, who was such a perfectionist they’d do take after take. Eisenberg says he even taught them things they didn’t think would be in the movie, but found themselves using them when it came to the shoot. John Leguizamo says Nimo-Man, as he calls him, is “the kind of director I live for, man.”
Screewriter, Max Landis (John Landis’ son) says that he and Nima’s first choices were Stewart and Eisenberg, and they were shocked when they both said yes! Landis describes this weird movie one of “Violence, chaos, panic and destruction” and he couldn’t be happier with the result.
Is this worth your bucks? This one’s a head scratcher. There was plenty of reason not to like this movie, but we liked it in spite of it’s being so weird. Eisenberg and Stewart left their vanity at the door. They got into the action leaving their stunt doubles without much to do, but the makeup department went through plenty of blood. Stay for some creative credits. This film earns its R rating. It’s ultra all the way.