Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review - The November Man (2014)

I've been watching Pierce Brosnan for years.  Ever since Remington Steele back in the 80's, Pierce has pretty much been doing action roles.  Of course, back in the 80's, I was watching Remington Steele to see Stephanie Zimbalist, not Pierce Brosnan, but what can you do.  Nowadays, you say Stephanie Zimbalist, and people ask "Who?"  But you say Pierce Brosnan, and people go "Oh, the last good Bond guy!"  Yea.  The last good bond guy.  But don't get me started on Daniel Craig again.  (shakes head sadly)

Pierce isn't getting these action roles because he's a guy who looks like a hired thug, or a big bruiser.  No, Pierce gets the action roles because he can act like he's a hired thug, or a big bruiser, or probably anything else, and make it believable.  Even at the age of 62, he's still kicking ass, blowing shit up, and playing alongside leading ladies like Olga Kurylenko.  Impressive, innit?

The November Man (2014) is about a retired CIA hit man who's offered a job to extract a deep-cover russian agent.  Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) takes the job because the russian agent he's extracting is the mother of his child.  Why does the russian agent need extracting, you ask?  Because she knows things, of course.  Things the next Russian president, one Arkady Federov, doesn't want anyone to know.  The man who offered devereaux the job told him that the russian agent had asked for him, but when the agent is finally extracted, after her cover is blown, she seems totally surprised to see Devereaux.  Which is when...  Wait for it...   All Hell Breaks Loose.  Yea, you knew that was coming.

So without spoiling anything for you, this movie was pretty decent.  Lots of action, of course, gun fights, explosions, fisticuffs, I mean, it's not a 007 flick by any means, because it feels kind of short.  At an hour and 48 minutes, it really isn't, but given that most bond films go over 2 hours, the action in this movie seems kind of rushed.  Devereux is supposedly called the 'November Man' because after he sweeps through, everyone is dead, but aside from the fact that the movie is named after him, I'm not really seeing any supreme evidence of his efficiency.  It almost looks like several fights and encounters in the movie could have gone either way, and maybe that's kind of the point, maybe it's supposed to look like that, and Devereaux was never actually in any danger of losing.  But it didn't look that way.  From the title, I was expecting more of a 'Now You See Me' feel to the movie, like the November Man was a magician instead of an assassin, but that was never the case, at least as far as i could tell.

I guess the acting was okay.  I mean, there really wasn't a lot of character development, and I don't see anyone getting any oscars for their roles, here.  Olga Kurylenko plays pretty much the same role she played in Hitman opposite Timothy Olyphant, but shows much less skin in this movie, which is sad, because she's really very attractive, even if the teen version of her character in this movie doesn't really look anything like her.  There was indeed a little brief nudity, but it was from a couple random strippers in a russian club scene.  If I wanted to see random russian strippers, I know where to go on the internet.  Luke Bracey plays Devereuax's former protege, who Devereaux is trying to teach one final thing to, but I've never before heard of the guy, so I have no idea if he acted well or not.  Brosnan does okay in the role of devereux, but I don't get the whole one scene in the movie, to be honest.  I'll tell you about it, but it's sort of a minor spoiler, so don't read the next paragraph if you want to see the movie for yourself, or  go ahead and read it if you don't really care about a minor spoiler.

Devereaux seems to be trying to teach his former protege something, and there's only one real scene where he spells it out.  He basically holds the protege's new girlfriend hostage, at gunpoint, while Devereuax tells the kid that he can either be a killer of humans, or a human being, and not both.  Personally, since most killers of humans are human beings themselves, I really don't see where that's actually true, but this is the point he's trying to get across, I guess.  And then, to make his point, he severs the girl's femoral artery.  I don't think she actually dies, but I don't get why Devereaux went in, assaulted the poor girl, nearly killed her, and then used her bleeding out to make an escape, when the protege had no idea where Devereaux was to begin with.  Wouldn't that just piss the guy off?  Given the way the movie ended, it just didn't make any sense to me.  End spoiler.

Apparently, the movie was based on a book written in 1987, so the plot is probably a little old, and it seemed totally predictable, at least to me.  I figured out the supposed twists long before Devereaux did, but at least most of the major plot points were cleaned up by the end of the movie.  Nothing was really left unfinished, which is always good with an action movie, I think.  Sure, there were holes in the plot, maybe ones big enough to drive a truck through, but who cares?  I watched this movie to see a spy thriller, and damn it, that's what I got.  Maybe it wasn't a Bourne Identity, and maybe it wasn't a James Bond movie, but it wasn't bad.  This movie is available on Netflix if you want to see it.

Some of the reviews on netflix mentioned this movie as being gritty, but I didn't see that.  This movie didn't seem any grittier than any other spy thriller.  Frankly, when you put a bunch of hired goons, guns, explosives and politics into a blender, and turn it up to liquify, you're going to have a big mess on your hands.  Pretty much every spy thriller ends up the same, anyways.  Lots of bad people die, and the hero sneaks off with the girl.  (shrug)  Watch it once to see an aging Pierce Brosnan shoot his way through a decent supporting cast, and then forget about it, because it's not overly memorable as far as cool movies go.

In other news, It's the last week of lent!  I'm not religious, but Easter candy is always something to look forward to.  If I can find an appropriately easter-themed horror flick to review this weekend, I shall do so, and give you another review then.  Night of the Lepus, maybe?  Something with murderous baby chickens?  Hmmm, so many options!  I'll have to see what Netflix has got for me...  (maniacal evil laugh)

Sorry about the maniacal evil laugh.  I haven't been sleeping well.  It seemed appropriate at the time?  :-/

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