|written by: David Twohy |
produced by: Robbie Brenner, Mark Canton, Ryan Kavanaugh & Tucker Tooley
directed by: David Twohy
rated R (for graphic violence, language including sexual references and some drug use)
Unfortunately, this movie does not live up to its title. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why director David Twohy ("Pitch Black") considers his audience chumps enough to swallow such an inane "twist". Yes, everyone is talking about "the revealing twist" in this film. A twist that once revealed, is just flat insulting. A well executed twist should make a viewer backtrack in their mind (possibly more than once), taking in all that has previously occurred which would in turn lead to several little "ah ha" moments. Anyone attempting such with this film will picture the entire previous hour and a half fall apart reel after reel.
What a shame since everything leading up to the big twist delivers a satisfying summer thriller. The setting is a Hawaiian island, the build-up is intriguing with a capable cast. Screenwriter Cliff (Steve Zahn) and baby-hungry Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are on their honeymoon, seeking out a special hiking trail that leads to a secret beach. Just as they begin their trek, they overhear a group of frightened hikers discuss a double murder in Honolulu of another newlywed couple on the island. They start to discuss whether or not they should turn back when they come across another couple, former special-ops stud Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and his girlfriend Gina (Kiele Sanchez) and we see the four of them strike up a tentative friendship. Nick is undeniably charismatic, as he tells his tales of near-death experiences and military history, while Gina displays her disemboweling animal skills. She used to be a butcher. This behavior and the recent news of murder, triggers Cliff into paranoia, leading him to believe this couple could be the killers. Add to the mix another couple they encounter, strung-out Cleo (Marley Shelton) and hot-tempered Kale (Chris Hemsworth), that act even more suspicious. Actually, too suspicious.
It's obvious Twohy tries to throw us and his ambition is admirable but the end result falls flat. It seems like his script was a nice studio pitch that was rapidly greenlit before any semblance of payoff could be found. That's unfortunate since enough time and care is spent on structure, characterization and (as mentioned) a capable cast. As a director, Twohy comes across a little too self-aware, constantly pausing on certain clues and plot devices in an effort to tell instead of show. He's always thinking but rarely considering the intelligence of the viewer which is a epic failure.
The slow builds to the B-movie plot twist provides a fairly entertaining story with actors that draw your attention. Zahn has proven he is much more than comic relief with his work in "Rescue Dawn" and here he plays the nice guy who could easily be dismissed. As his wife, Jovovich hides her accent well and for most gives a softer side from her typical action heroine. After playing Nikki on "Lost", it's great to see Sanchez getting more work, she really dives into her role with much exuberance. She certainly deserves to have more work lined up for her. The standout would have to be Olyphant, who delivers a confident swagger in a role that could have been all machismo. It's also nice to see that Hemsworth's role as George Kirk from this summer's "Star Trek" wasn't a fluke. He really does quite a bit with what little he is given here. It's a shame these actors are thrust into the last half hour of blue-tinted flashback exposition and laughable action.
By the time August hits, I look forward to a movie that's gonna give me something other than the typical summer #1 box office hits. Give me something character-driven and unique, humorous or thrilling...even throw in a tropical location. I'm open! Just don't insult me with a preposterous set-up to a predictable twist that takes too long and by that time, not only is it too much to swallow but it's too hard to care.
- In addition to working together on this film, Jovovich ("Resident Evil") and Olyphant ("Hitman") have both worked on films that were adaptations of video games.
- The film was shot in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.