This is the first full-length feature written by Max Landis, son of director-screenwriter-producer-actor John Landis. Starring a bunch of young actors that youve never heard of, another movie designed to look like it was filmed with a cheap camcorder. But this time it works, the filmmakers do it in an original way and it actually enhances the story. The movie deals with three teenagers who accidentally get superpowers. The film was released into a crowded superhero market, but it stands on its own merits because its fresh. Even though theres a fair amount of spotty acting and the plot is a bit undeveloped, it deals with extraordinary individuals on their level, through their eyes. It cant be easy dealing with the ordinary teenage/high school issues while trying to learn how to fly and harness your powers of telepathy. This is not a franchise-building film but its a pretty entertaining movie worth a watch.
Since making his debut in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, back in 1998, Jason Statham has starred in like a bazillion action movies OK, maybe more like 25. But the point is thats a lot of action movies in a 14-year career. This one is a little different, based on a non-fiction book written by an actual member of a special ops force. This means it doesnt require the level of disbelief usually needed to watch a Statham film. Statham is accompanied by two upper-tier actors, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro both of whom are great in this fast-moving tale of spy versus spy. Statham has done films like this before and he usually does an efficient job at the more serious roles. Its the viewer that needs time to process Statham in a more real role, not that Statham is going to be anyone other than Statham. He has one acting mode brooding British guy. But once you settle in and let the story take you, youll find its an interesting movie with action done well worth a watch.
Rachel Weisz is a great actress, always accentuating her leading man. But in this film, Weisz is out there all alone, as a leading lady as well as her character in the story. She plays a cop going through a divorce, fighting for child custody but she decides to travel to Bosnia as a U.N. Peacekeeper, only to uncover a slave trade ring. The Whistleblower pulls no punches, to the point where some of this material is hard to watch. Its even more hard-hitting emotionally because Weisz devours this material shes strong and weak and smart and broken but also resilient and heroic. She has help from her powerful costars, Vanessa Redgrave and David Strathairn, but this film is the property of Weisz. Someone shouldve blown the whistle on her to the Academy Awards she shouldve at least earned an Oscar nomination for this film. Verdict: Well worth a watch.
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge