Greetings again from the darkness. The tough road this film faces could be blamed on the unfortunate timing of release on the heels of a similar story in GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT; however, that’s not the only reason the latest collaboration between Gerard Butler and director Ric Roman Waugh (ANGEL HAS FALLEN, GREENLAND) will likely struggle to find an audience. Other obstacles include a script with entirely too many storylines and character arcs that dead end, as well as an overall lack of intensity when it was necessary.
Since the script was written by Mitchell LaFortune, and drawn on his personal experience as a Military Intelligence Officer in Afghanistan, the lack of intensity and danger is quite surprising. Gerald Butler does Gerald Butler things here. He has patented this type of character in the same manner that Liam Neeson has perfected his familiar action hero. This time, Butler plays CIA Operative Tom Harris, whom we first see working at gunpoint to assist in bombing an Iranian nuclear facility. When his mission is exposed by a whistleblower through a female British journalist (Elnaaz Norouzi), it seems half of the middle east is contracted to kill him … and the reporter herself is kidnapped.
Soon Harris’ handler (Travis Fimmel, LEAN ON PETE) throws enough money at Harris to motivate him to perform one more mission before he heads home to a graduating daughter and a divorce-seeking wife. This “one last job” means Harris and his new interpreter “Mo” (Navid Negahban, “Homeland”) are on a road trip through the desert trying not to get killed as Mo searches for his missing sister-in-law. There are some cool drone shots showing the endless miles of desert desolation and some night vision goggle sequences that are better than what we’ve seen before, but the big-time weaponry doesn’t make up for too many characters and crummy music. To his credit, director Waugh doesn’t lean on an excess of action sequences.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the movie is that it was actually filmed in Saudi Arabia. Of course, that parcel of rare trivia doesn’t make up for the feeling that this film is just a bit too familiar with too many unfinished story lines.
Opens in theaters on May 26, 2023