Sunday, November 23, 2014

Video review: "The November Man"

When he was a younger man, Pierce Brosnan played James Bond and was quite good at, to my mind. Now he’s around 60 and too old to play a run-of-the-mill spy, but of just the right vintage to segue into the burgeoning Geezer Spy genre --  now dominated by Liam Neeson (“Taken”) but also populated by the likes of Kevin Costner (“3 Days to Kill”) and Denzel Washington (“The Equalizer.”)

These movies all tend to resemble each other, to wit: our hero is an efficient, ruthless killer who has now retired from the game/faked his death, but is recruited/forced to take on One Last Job which, of course, goes horribly awry and thus he must wade through a veritable army of bad guys who mock him for his decrepitude, until he shows them what a supreme badass he still is.

The whole thing is an exercise in aging Baby Boomer fantasy, which doesn't necessarily mean the movie won't be very good, though that is in fact the case with "The November Man."

The plot is a nigh-incomprehensible mish-mash of gunfights, car chases and distressed damsels, with Brosnan as an ex-CIA man who finds himself facing off with some of his old crew, plus some new whippersnappers.

He's brought in to sneak out a high-level source, who is then assassinated in the middle of the operation. Soon he's laying waste to Russian mafia, various assorted goons and his own CIA handlers/turncoats.

The action scenes are crisp and engaging, but any time people start talking the movie slows to a crawl.

I'm not necessarily opposed to the ideas of geriatrics pulverizing their younger competition. Until they can come up with some fresher stories, though, best to leave the oldsters in retirement.

Extra features are pretty good, though you'll have to spring for the Blu-ray edition to get them -- the DVD version comes with zilch.

There's a making-of documentary, featurettes on shooting in Belgrade and Brosnan's comeback, plus a feature-length commentary with Brosnan, director Roger Donaldson and producer Beau ST. Clair.



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