I watched this film in the vain hope it was an adaptation of a video game whose plot I remembered being quite interesting. (I couldn't remember it at the time but now know it was 2010's 'Singularity.') Sadly, I was disappointed. (On more than one level.)
The plot sees Eric Roberts hiring a team of mercenaries to retrieve a long since discontinued Russian cold-war experiment which is buried in a remote bunker. With a fairly decent premise for the ultimate nature of the experiment, six different story locations, the presence of Game of Thrones' brilliant James Cosmo (Jeor Mormont) and no less than five plot 'twists', reveals and 'turnabouts' you'd be forgiven for thinking the film was, at the very least, good-ish, but you'd be wrong.
The problems begin with the script and the way it's delivered; "Do you mind if I smoke in your house" says a merc to his boss while he's already sat smoking. (Not funny, not necessary, not delivered well and does nothing for the scene.) Or some tasteless racist comments from one character that are also not funny or necessary. (His opponent was going to kill him anyway, he didn't need a contrived reason.) There are so many places where the lines, or their delivery, just fall flat or detract from the pace or tension.
On that note, it is sad to see the formerly brilliant Eric Roberts totally phoning his lines in. (When an actor has over FORTY films due for release in 2016 alone, that's not a good thing and it really shows.)
Next, there are the asinine plot decisions, such as a merc in desperate need of lots of artillery who finds a room full of AK47s and takes one. Just one. And no extra ammo; or the totally inexplicable appearance of the boss, near the end of the film, who really should have just gone there with the mercenaries. And the mercenaries? This crack team seem to know nothing about each other or their true motives and I couldn't imagine them working together by the end of the film.
Then there are the effects. Apparently, 1960's Russia were using 1990's white computer monitors for their excellent quality closed circuit cameras. I can forgive using the same couple of tunnels from dozens of angles, with different lighting each time, to simulate the effect of a maze-like bunker but adding some changing corridor furniture or wall decals would have made it more believable and less boring. As to the cheap and ludicrously obvious chroma key for cavernous rooms and absolutely dire and badly scaled CGI/image cloning for the battalion is totally unforgivable in this day and age, when better end results can be seen on you tube with free software.
Ultimately, this film is not so bad that it isn't watchable, (it's even occasionally enjoyable (especially the very well choreographed hand-to-hand fight sequence) but the let-downs outnumber the tolerable parts a little too much for my liking. It's curious to note that, despite my going into this thinking it might be based on a well-loved game, it turned out not to be, but it looked suspiciously like a film from the king of god-awful video game to movie conversions, Uwe Boll. That should say it all, really.
The Russians scrap a dangerous scientific project designed to change the course of history. A manhunt ensues after they unsuccessfully attempt to exterminate all the scientists involved in the top secret project.
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August 18, 2016 at 10:07 PM