With cinemas still closed, it’s up to streaming services like Netflix to fill the Friday premiere void. Unfortunately, this week it’s The Last Days Of American Crime, an almost unwatchable “crime action thriller” that’s apparently based on the graphic novel of the same name. The Last Days Of American Crime does have an interesting premise that sounds like The Purge meets Minority Report. As it states on Netflix: A bank robber joins a plot to commit one final, historic heist before the government turns on a mind-altering signal that will end all criminal behaviour. This blurb is where the interest peaks and dissipates however, as the finished product is a shockingly bad film that wishes it was somewhere between a Walter Hill and Robert Rodriguez creation but instead falls somewhere in-between Len Wiseman and John Moore.
Directed by Olivier Megaton who has a cool surname but a tepid filmography (Hitman, Transporter 2 & 3 etc.) this film is excruciatingly bad; from the dad-rock soundtrack, the garish costumes, the amateur acting, to the horrendous dialogue, every aspect of this movie is piss-poor. The film opens with a mumbling, inaudible voice which we discover is lead Edgar Ramirez. Ramírez has one of those irritating faces that you instantly take a disliking to (Jason ahem Clarke). Like a Venezuelan Gerard Butler, Edgar plays the bearded yet bland central protagonist Graham Bricke and with his shite acting abilities, he brings all the pathos and depth of an actual brick to the screen. Along with a gaggle of D-list nobodies, Edgar wanders around from scene to scene with his rolled-up dad jeans and sometimes hard to understand accent. With terrible lines like “please can you tell your pet moron that when he fucks up my face I got to explain that” and characters with names such as “Kevin Cash” and “Johnny D”, the whole thing reeks of amateurishness. There’s also an incessant female voiceover which makes this film less Noire and more nah. Given that the main plot is that of a robbery, you’d at least think this portion of the flick would be exciting or thrilling but no, even the heist planning and execution is laughable (there’s a scene in which we’re shown a blueprint with only two locations on there!).
The plot itself isn’t an allegory or metaphor for anything; this movie has nothing deep to say about crime, law, or freedom. It also makes little sense. The “API Signal” we’re told is a synaptic blocker that prevents actions that people “know to be unlawful”, but that wouldn’t stop mentally incapacitated people or those who’ve been hypnotised. Hell, you could raise children without teaching them the law and they’d be immune to this signal. But I guess alongside the idea of “making a run for Canada”, this isn’t the only aspect of the film that sounds ridiculous.
The main issue for me is the lead actor Edgar Ramirez, he has no star quality whatsoever and he is incapable of carrying a film (especially when it’s written and directed so badly). Ramirez encounters two potentially decent actors (Sharlto Copley and Michael Pitt) but because of Megaton, even these two fail to deliver watchable performances. Thanks to Olivier, the camera aimlessly wanders around following a bunch of bland actors performing cliched lines that are about as subtle and nuanced as the truck that rams into a checkpoint during the finale. Characters walk into a scene like they’re in a porno flick with trashy dialogue to match (“Yep I’m at Bricke’s. He’s got his dick in me right now don’t you Bricke?”). All this would be fine had the film been intentionally shite but instead we have a modern-day Showgirls, a film that’s so bad it’s possible to watch the entire thing cringing or pissing yourself with laughter.
Last Days Of American Cinema.