Cast :- Chadwick Boseman, Teresa Palmer, Luke Evans
Genre :- Thriller, Action
Well, the title was a pun and this is in no way related to the Protagonist’s other film venture set to release next year – Black Panther. But looking at the film he does give out strong Black Panther T’Challa vibes.
So, Netflix has taken bold and progressive steps in filmmaking – stepping out of the shadows of regular streaming services to giving expanded budget to directors to go into the wild to make their own films. Netflix has done that in the past but such levels of activity in this sphere sure are a welcome change.
So, let’s look into the plot first:-
Jacob King (Chadwick Boseman) arrives at LA after his sister whom he hasn’t spoken to in ages leaves a voicemail that indicates her life may be in danger. His sister – Bianca King (Sibongile Mlambo) had left Cape town with her then husband – Alex. Jacob arrives to find out about her disappearance and investigate what happened to her. His paths cross with Dr. Wentworth (Luke Evans) and Kelly (Teresa Palmer) amongst other people in the dark sides of Californian inhabitation.
The plot was placed in an average manner and the actors played a decent enough role. Was there room for improvement? A bit I would say as the script was not so strong and had nothing new to deal with on the whole.
Let’s look at their individual performances:-
- Chadwick Boseman plays Jacob King – the Cape Town survivor who lands up in LA to find his sister. From the first half of the movie you see the innocence and hope he has mustered to believe that his sister had a hard time but hadn’t gone into a darker path. He refuses to believe that she could have done bad things or mixed up with the people who perform such acts.
- Teresa Palmer plays Kelly a young lady with a daughter who she tries to feed and house using whatever meager earnings she gets in the supermarket or by other dirty jobs. She is the humane aspect of Jacob’s interactions in the city. The interactions that very truthfully list out the allure and charm of the American lifestyle. Why people settle even though they know the rest of the world is far better off than whatever dumpster they have settled in the USA for.
- Luke Evans plays an unconventional villain. A dentist who runs a drug and human trafficking ring on the sidelines. It was, as usual, a pleasure seeing his presence on screen. Some people need to throw an outstanding performance to showcase screen presence – somehow Luke Evans seems to be an exception to that clause. His character is established in such a way that he could slip right under everyone’s noses because “Who would doubt a dentist?”
So, the movie on a whole was average. I felt the non-action parts in it, more than the fighting part which was scarily numbered. They were of the blink and miss type, to be honest. I expected it to be more of the ‘Taken’(first one not the other two disasters) or ‘Daredevil’ fight scenes or something like ‘Ninja Assassin’ maybe not too much CGI but you get my point. You see Chadwick Boseman have that brooding and anger in his eyes but he finishes off the bad guys way too quick for it to be anywhere fun sadly.
Everyone is looking for something in this place. You come here looking for the one thing in the world that you think is going to make you happy. And then after a few years, all you wanna do is get the hell out.
Have you ever seen this place in the rain? It’s like rotting cardboard – same smell. But then, the rain clears and the sun shines and the air smells like jasmine and orange. And you think that maybe it’s not so bad, maybe you are going to stay and give it another go. And then what you think is a pile of trash, starts pushing a cart full of cans. Sleeping under a bridge.- Kelly
Honestly, I watched it because I wanted to see Chadwick Boseman in action before his black panther debut and judging by his accent it actually felt he was still in the shoes of T’Challa because honestly, I haven’t seen him before this, he may have done roles but none that I have seen. It’s like asking for a movie in which Ray Fisher (Cyborg) is there because JL is his first noticeable movie. This movie but pulled off quite an impact and showed that he probably knows how to fight and act at the same time. You actually sympathize and feel for Jacob King. The dark side of the American dream is a very famous concept and this movie showed nothing that we already knew but I honestly didn’t believe the fact that Bianca is dead. Alive in a pitiful state? Yeah probably but not dead and his tears after it, sold the sibling connection amongst other things pretty well. The plot at first confuses you because the names of the characters are a bit confusing but soon it all makes sense.
But, there are some parts of the film that don’t make any sense and feel like a over exaggerated addition or simple coincidence on the targeted character’s part. You would expect a character to act in a certain way but he/she does something else entirely making you believe that it was a deleted scene that was just added in post-production and they forgot to glue it in together. Like, if you had a son who was in danger because of this person who you had taken in – you would be angry right? But somehow the concerned party wasn’t. Weird!
All in all, I felt the movie was better on the acting part rather than the fighting one which the trailer had falsely showcased it to be. The script and plot were very predictable and see – through sadly. The fight scenes were too short and the climactic fight scene as in most action movie was so brief, it was disappointing.
My rating :- Boseman Worthy Only