Monday, 13 December 2021



Paramount USA  2021
Directed by Antoine Fuqua

Warning: Plot spoilers, I guess.

Infinite is a new science fiction action adventure based on a relatively new novel, The Reincarnationist Papers, by D. Eric Maikranz. Now, this information surprised me because the story is very much a riff in the vein of a Philip K. Dick kind of concept and yes, it’s yet another of these recent sci-fi movies which feels like it's exploring concepts from 1950s science fiction, it seems to me. However, it’s a nice enough concept but... it’s kind of wasted the way it’s been presented here.

The Infinite of the title is the name a certain, smallish underground section of the population give to themselves. They are basically people who, from adolescence, can now recall all their past lives leading up to this point... so they don’t have to learn new skills and are pretty much experienced at everything they’ve tried their hand at for thousands of years. When they die, their soul is just reborn into another body and so on. However, the Infinites are split into two warring factions. There are the Believers... the good guys of the film who want to use their special skills to benefit mankind... and the Nihilists, the bad guys of the story who want to destroy the world so they don’t have to keep coming back in new bodies.

To this end, many years ago, the main villain Bathhurst, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (who nearly always makes a good villain but he seems to have some truly terrible lines here... much like all his costars in this), invented an egg of destruction which, when activated, will wipe out all life on the planet. In a blistering car chase action sequence at the start of the movie we see a character, one of three Believers who die in the opening sequence, steal the destructive egg and we are told later that he has ‘hidden’ it somewhere. Why Bathhurst can’t make another one is not really made clear but, anyway, it’s up to the Nihilists to find the egg so they can destroy humanity and the Believers to find the egg to keep it hidden or, preferably, destroy it. However, nobody knows where the main action hero at the start of the movie hid it before his death.

Enter Marky Mark Wahlburg. That character has now been reborn into his character, Evan. However, he doesn’t know he’s an Infinite because of him being treated as a schizophrenic throughout his life (and the tin plate in his head doesn’t help either). However, when both factions of Infinites realise it’s him, the Believers nab him from under the noses of the Nihilists and start trying to ‘jog his memory’ about the heroic action man he really is and, more importantly, where he hid the egg.

And that’s the main set up and I won’t say much about the plot. All the actors including those just mentioned and the likes of Sophie Cookson, Dylan O’ Brien, Toby Jones, Liz Carr, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson and Jason Mantzoukas... are all pretty good. However, the dialogue they are asked to deliver in the film is, generally, not. Take the aforementioned Ejiofor, for example. We’ve seen him play a villain in numerous films and he’s always so threatening and not someone to be trifled with. Here, however, nothing much he’s saying is worth listening too and that goes for pretty much all of the other characters in this. The only redeeming moment in his character is the fact that, with the beard and black costume choices he has, he does tend to come off as a kind of knock of Roger Delgado as The Master (from the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who), so I was at least able to enjoy his performance on that level.

Another huge problem is the opening of the movie. It starts off with this truly brilliant action sequence (rendered less effective by some rubbish rap song over a lot of it) but... it’s the best set piece in the movie. It’s too strong and makes all the other action sequences in the film which follow look bad in comparison. And I’m sorry but, Marky Mark riding his bike off a really high cliff in Scotland and managing to land it on the wing of a plane which has already been in the air for two minutes really doesn’t help things. This film is definitely going for the action stakes but, as far as I’m concerned at any rate, it really fails to deliver for a lot of the time. Don’t get me wrong, the film is entertaining enough and the kicks, punches, slices and explosions are fine... they just aren’t enough to save it and, coupled with the script... yeah, I was a bit underwhelmed by the whole thing. And I still can’t figure out why a secret society would advertise their whereabouts to the enemy by flying around in aircraft with a big Möbius strip logo on the side.

What I wasn’t underwhelmed with was the action score provided by the great Harry Gregson-Williams. This was, frankly, the only reason I bothered to see the movie, it has to be said, as I'd already bought a copy of the limited edition CD release from La La Land records and I wanted to hear how it played in the movie before listening to it as a stand alone. And how it plays in the movie is... mixed way too low when it could have been way better highlighted against all the bangs and pops of the drab action sequences. But I know the CD will get a fair few spins so, at least there’s that. Thanks to the company for allowing La La Land to put this one out.

And... not much more to say about this one. The film has some nice concepts such as an electronic acupuncture machine to help stimulate memory and a gun that fires bullets which capture the souls of Infinites so they can’t resurrect again, stored in a computer chip instead but... the execution seems lousy on this one, for some reason. Things just don’t seem to be either pumped up enough or gritty enough to be consistently watchable and, yeah, well I won’t be watching Infinite again anyway, I would say. If you like sci-fi action movies then it’s not absolutely terrible and it’s not too dull a diversion of an evening. Just don’t go in expecting an epic.

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