The film opens up with an important man sitting in the back seat of a vehicle, being protected by what appears to be a group of contracted ‘gun for hire’. They are shortly attacked while travelling through the desert and only a couple of survivors are left, one of them being the man that was being protected. Meanwhile!
From this, we are then introduced to a new character, Travis Conrad (Ethan Hawke). Travis is also a skilled contractor for hire (aka an assassin) who currently on vacation. Travis is approached by his boss, told he needs to pause his leave, and is given a new mission that pays very well if he accepts. His boss also reminds him that he is the best of the best and no one else can do the job (like we’ve never heard that before in a film!).
While Travis investigates his newest target, he is shot killed. But! Thanks to a top-secret classified project and use of modern technology, Travis is given a 2nd chance at life. The only catch is he now only has 24 hours to live. Travis will now continue what he started with the clock ticking.
Considering the film is filled by so many ‘skilled’ characters, the film enjoys showing these characters fail over and over again. But this isn’t my only issues with film… sadly there are many issues, such as poor editing which effects the film’s storyline. Even from the opening scene, we are never really given any useful details about the film and plot. Instead, we are given characters who are cheesy and uninteresting. There are also some serious issues with the continuity of both the plot and the way the film does its action scenes. It’s an awful sight to see.
Ethan Hawke (to me) is a great actor. I accept that some will disagree, especially given some of his recent films (such as The Getaway), but when he’s given the right movie and direction, I believe he is fantastic on screen. As the main character in this film, he comes across as a cocky tough guy, but soon becomes a compassionate, good guy who now has a heart. This transition happens far too quickly, and I struggled to accept what I was seeing. To help us connect with the leading man, we are given flashback sequences, but they’re all uninteresting and ultimately repetitive for viewers. Characters are also continuously relaxed and calm during gunfights, or when cars flip upside down, they act like it’s nothing. Emotion is shown selectively. This is changed slightly in the last act (slightly!)
For a man who only has 24 hours to live, the film never feels like we are watching 24 hours. In fact, after a 5-minute scene, we learn that the main character’s time frame to stay alive has reduced significantly. Perhaps more scenes were filmed, but never made the final cut. Again, poor editing makes it all unbelievable.
The film does manage to sneak in some action scenes, but many of these appear to be slightly fast-forwarded. Perhaps this was done to try and add a creative side and set this film apart from other action movies. The action never felt fresh or exciting. It’s pretty rare to see an action scene with guns that makes me feel as uninterested and bored as I did in this film.
Overall, I am incredibly disappointed by this film. What is set up to be some type of action film only delivers a movie with weak storytelling and unwise edits with an utterly uninteresting plot. I feel Ethan Hawke is capable of much higher films than this.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden