Well, maybe we don’t all have as much time to kill as we did a month or three ago. A lot of people are going back to work, after all.
So two and a half hours of a dawdling wank of a heist thriller from Olivier Megaton (“Taken 2,” “Transporter 3”) wasn’t the worst way for Netflix to spend its production money. But it’s close.
“The Last Days of American Crime,” based on a “very near future” comic book tale, is about pulling off the last big robbery before API, a new “signal” that will stop criminals from committing crimes, is switched on.
Clocks are counting down, the TV yakkers are debating the morality and Constitutionality of it all. The People? They’re running wild in the streets, getting it out of their system, with the One Percent (pro jocks included) trying to flee to Canada.
Yeah, it’s “The Purge,” with no social commentary, no conscience, no soul and very little entertainment value.
Edgar Ramirez is Brick, a bank robber in Detroit, I guess (on the border), a guy we meet as he tortures somebody so we don’t feel so bad when he himself is tortured later.
Anna Brewster (TV’s “Versailles”) is Shelby, skinny young thing attached to crime-boss son Kevin Cash (Michael Pitt of “Rob the Mob” and TV’s “Boardwalk Empire,” amped-up as ever). But she’s more than arm-adornment. Shelby is our narrator, because Shelby dreamed up the caper.
They’ll hit “The Money Factory,” grab a bundle and make for Canada just before the API signal ends crime in America.
“Last Days” is a movie of indeterminate settings (I didn’t hear anybody say “Detroit”), bit players with unexplained European accents, lots of shouting and odd moments of shooting.
South African Sharlto Copley, doing his best American accent ever, is kind of lost in the mix as a cop about to be — in essence — made obsolete for a high-pitched “signal” that removes “free will” (the will to be a crook), discourages, punishes and can even kill.
Everybody has “one week left to make your own choices,” which means they’d all best get a move on.
Megaton — “Colombiana” was his best film — is a great big pile of bad directing, and the action beats here don’t hide that. He relies too much on voice-over, and can’t quite tell when a sentence an actor utters makes no GD sense whatsoever.
“Like I told you, if you don’t have a contract on your head in my family, it means they don’t like you.”
There’s a little “getting too old for this” you-know-what, a dash of “Sometimes you get to see the bullet that has your name on it,” a lot of neon blended in with the urban wasteland that passes for production design.
The caper is routine, the twists don’t — twist. “American Crime” just lies there, a corpse awaiting reanimation that never comes.
Pitt does this loopy, deranged, gonzo criminal thing as well as anybody and gives us something to look at.
Brewster’s big break includes some tough talk, short skirts and the obligatory sex-in-the-filthy-bar-bathroom scene. How I long for the day actresses aren’t subjected to that degradation.
I like Ramirez, of “Hands of Stone,” “Point Break,” “Joy, “The Girl on the Train” and “The Liberator.” And I will like him again once I’ve forgotten this, which will be any minute now.
MPAA Rating: TV-MA, graphic violence, sex, drug content, profanity
Cast: Edgar Ramirez, Anna Brewster, Michael Pitt and Sharlto Copley.
Credits: Directed by Olivier Megaton, script based on the graphic novel. A Netflix release.
Running time: 2:29