Bil’s rating (out of 5): B
USA, 2021. Netflix, Seven Bucks Productions, Flynn Picture Company, Bad Version. Screenplay by Rawson Marshall Thurber. Cinematography by Markus Forderer. Produced by Beau Flynn, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Dwayne Johnson, Rawson Marshall Thurber. Music by Steve Jablonsky. Production Design by Andy Nicholson. Costume Design by Mary E. Vogt. Film Editing by Julian Clarke, Michael L. Sale.
This pale ripoff of Indiana Jones and The Mummy believes it can get away with its derivative nature by openly referring to those movies and pointing out its gleeful use of film cliches, having star Ryan Reynolds hum the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme or talk about “MacGuffins”. The trick doesn’t work and the film is dead on arrival, a lifeless, uninspired adventure whose plot could have made for more round-the world fun if every shot in every exotic location didn’t look entirely green-screened. Dwayne Johnson is an FBI agent looking to hunt down a top-drawer art thief who has just made off with one of the world’s greatest and most exotic treasures, one of the three golden eggs that were presented to Cleopatra by none other than Marc Antony. When Johnston’s pursuit of Reynolds results in them both getting tripped up and sent to prison in the cold wilds of Siberia, they are forced to team up when they discover that an even better thief, Gal Gadot, is responsible for their woes and is going to beat them to the treasure herself. The characters randomly move from one wildly different location to the next, attend a few James Bond-esque parties, always seem to have clothing at the ready and never appear to show the wear and tear of their constantly maneuvering around each other to get to the upper hand. Cultural details are all plastic, and the performances even more so: Johnston has his good-natured plucky charm and Reynolds whips out the sarcastic zingers at every opportunity, but we could honestly be watching moments pieced together from a number of their other films and not know it, while Gadot, herself often in this wryly amused but physically confident vein, barely seems to care about doing more than the minimum effort.