My stars and garters, “ECCO.”
Here’s a “Dog of August” that’s so bad that it’s a wonder that the month, infamous as a movie dumping ground for features not good enough to cut it any other month of the movie year, didn’t spit it back out the moment its release (“Escape?”) was announced.
It’s a robotically-acted thriller about a mysterious hitman who looks like Will Forte, without the spark of wit, warmth or life itself about him.
It’s about his varying degrees of stubble, his “wet work,” murdering folks. Only we rarely see that. We see him stare. A lot. And ponder. A lot. And we remember his name — Lathrop Walker. Because those words on a poster should be warning enough.
It’s about his double life, the women he’s loved, and the threat to them.
It’s about the old man in a wheelchair who pulls his strings, a cut-rate Brian Dennehy meets Brian Cox ham (Michael Winters) who sputters poetic warnings into his sat phone.
“They know where you are…Our sins are mine alone to bear!”
And it’s about two hours and three minutes of your life that you will never get back if you deign to take a flyer, hoping for the best, and sit through it.
A cryptic tale about a man of many names and the same face, a killer we see wipe out a plane full of oligarchs in the opening sequence, it follows his flashbacks to the loves he’s had, or has now, the “last job” he figures he’s done so his unknown boss can “leave me in peace.”
Of course, he doesn’t. And when that happens, beware collateral damage, to the Pacific northwest tugboat that is his cover business, to his lovers (Tabitha Bastien, Helena Grace Donald) and the life (lives) he might want to lead once he’s done adding to his body count and the staggering collection of scars he sports when he dares to strip his shirt off.
There’s little dialogue, which is a mercy. There’s little action, which is a pity.
And there’s too much “movie,” much of which makes so little sense that there’s no point in trying to wring meaning or message or “Where is this going, when it gets going, and when in the Name of God will it get there?”
It’s terrible on every level — the action beats that don’t suggest this guy would survive his first brawl, much less his first firefight, the “cryptic” business about not knowing who is really is, who he really works for and if these people he’s killed really had it coming.
He’s not Jason Bourne. Because Jason Bourne was interesting.
Pointless scene follows pointless scene, takes are edited to catch the actors tensing up as if waiting to hear “action” and go on and on and on after their payoff.
Terrible script and flaccid direction by Ben Medina. Terrible movie. Will it be the worst of 2019? We’ll see, and we’ll remember.
MPAA Rating: R for violence including bloody images, language, and some sexuality/nudity
Cast: Lathrop Walker, Tabitha Bastien, Helena Grace Donald, Michael Winters
Credits. Written and directed by Ben Medina. A Citadel Film Group release.
Running time: 2:03