Director: Brian Smrz
Starring Ethan Hawke, Xu Qing, Paul Anderson, Rutger Hauer, Tyrone Keogh, Nathalie Boltt, Liam Cunningham, Jeremy Yong .USA. 1h 39m
The overall character is like a science fiction bourne movie, the strengths lie in the espionage action thriller but you can’t ignore the countdown timer in the leads arm. But the film has a huge anchor and this drags along in a sea of theology Travis is a man on a mission but it’s plagued with ghosts of the afterlife, as he stands looking into the abyss it’s looking back at him and he’s reminded that he needs to make amends.
Travis Conrad (Hawke) is introduced as a drunk, hanging out with his father-in-law they are fishing and drinking in preparation for spreading some ashes, afterwards the old man, played by the enigmatic Rutger Hauer passes out and Travis heads to the tittybar, grabs a hit and notices some men following him, in a shifty trick he immobilize them and sits down next to the man who sent them, his old friend who offers him a job worth $2 million. Accepting his new job of executing a unknown man he has to find him, and so he starts tracking the family of an operative who’s been hired to protect him. While learning the whereabouts he spares Lin (Qing) but she kills him after plugging him in the chest, but Travis awakens on a hospital bed where’s he’s quizzed about the location, after givin up the news he soon realizes his mistake and that he’s time is up (again) but he breaks free, the doctor explains that he’s got a timer which gives him 24 hours to live again he spares another woman and escapes to get back at his employer by protecting his previous target but to summarize the film in one phrase, Travis is having a particularly bad day.
It’s a bit like Crank (2006) and a bit like John Wick (2014), with the addition of Ethan Hawke, what could possibly go wrong? For me the only downside is that Ethan didn’t carry this movie as well as he could.I thought he did a brilliant job in Daybreakers (2009) and it was equally as sentimental at times, but there was a lot going on but it was on the under powered side, and the movies attention to super slow motion scenes really takes over in the last half, it was aimed to emphases the emotion but it really felt like someone was fluffing the film and stalling for time.
One of the side effects of Travis’s condition is that he keeps daydreaming, these turn into hallucinations usually involving what seems to be his late son, these get more vivid as he begins to realises that he’ll soon be with him, the clock is always ticking but he’s determined to get back at his double crossers, especially the kingpin, the immaculate Liam Cunningham plays this heartless bitch and similar to his character in The Tournament (2009) he plays this small role well.
After each flurry of action there’s a big step back to a moral story, usually about friendship and loyalty, Travis might be a cold killer but he’s got a heart and this is what sets him apart from the dogs he’s hunting down.
For me the connection with the afterlife, along with this vast thrilling chase and a touch of medical sci fi, the movie is pretty awesome but I can understand the flack that film takes, maybe if it concentrated on one aspect and Hawke could be a little bit more John McClane but he isn’t and I believe more in his character as he has his faults and torments which are more relatable, if you’ve enjoyed his previous action based movies and were blown away by the more drama based epics then you’ll be ready for this. He starts a tribal uprising at one point and Mr Hauer has a hobo with a shotgun flash back, there really isn’t much else you need in one film and after a bloodbath showdown at the end, there’s a glimpse that maybe there could be a sequel.
R: Die Hard (1988), In Time (2011), Crank (2006), John Wick (2014), Daybreakers (2009)
L: Scifi Action Films