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The Misfits

Critic:

Isaac Parkinson

|

Posted on:

2 Mar 2022

Film Reviews
The Misfits
Directed by:
Renny Harlin
Written by:
Robert Henny, Kurt Wimmer
Starring:
Pierce Brosnan, Nick Cannon, Tim Roth, Mike Angelo, Jamie Chung, Hermione Corfield
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Pierce Brosnan was, at one time, the face of the biggest action franchise in the world. Suave, charming, commanding. Not any more. Here, Brosnan stars as expert thief/wayward father/supposed charmer Richard Pace. Drafted by the titular Misfits to lead a heist (altruistically stealing gold from a prison in Abu Dhabi intended to ‘fund terrorism’), he’s joined by his estranged daughter Hope (Hermione Corfield), our narrator Ringo (Nick Cannon), man-hating martial artist Violet (Jamie Chung), royal con man The Prince (Rami Jaber), and demolition man Wick (Mike Angelo).

 

Brosnan’s performance feels desperate, trying to force some energy and style into a dull script. He charms women, yet without having said anything charming. He holds control over those around him, yet without commanding any authority. Everything is working against him, but he somehow manages to be the only engaging performer here.

 

Cannon’s Ringo is perhaps the only other who stands out due to how abrasive and alienating he is. A man of theatrics, he adopts several disguises which are each as confusing as they are offensive. His accents are so wildly inconsistent that what I thought was intended as an insultingly camp Middle Eastern accent, he later claims to be European. This is indicative of wider elements of orientialism throughout the film, resorting to the comical use of a group of servants all named Mohammed, constant mocking of Arabic dialects, and a general demonisation of the Middle East as a hive of terrorists.

 

Ringo also provides voice-over narration, navigating us through cutaways flashbacks and quips to add exposition and levity. Beyond lacking any humour, these moments also often push extra narration into scenes which were by themselves already plenty expository - there’s no satisfaction in recognising a twist when someone leans over to shout an explanation in your ear, and even less satisfaction in someone telling you their joke is funny.

 

Elsewhere, the action is formally uncoordinated and unintelligible. Chopped up with quick cuts intended to inject some urgency, it becomes impossible to recognise exactly what is happening, particularly during chase sequences. While this has the facade of a Fast & Furious-esque globetrotting heist, Harlin forgets the essential elements of a charming ensemble and thoughtfully crafted set pieces.

 

The political context of the narrative is as confusing as its action. Characters use terms like ‘Bin Laden’s successor’ to describe terrorists, stirring up a sense of patriotic retribution to justify their plan. Motivations like this undermine their Robin Hood style vigilantism, and identify them more implicitly as US government agents unshackled by bureaucratic gridlock. The ignorance towards the War on Terror boils down to ‘West = good, East = bad,’ making it hard to root for our supposed heroes. This is further worsened by their poisoning of an entire prison population to steal the gold. If their justification is a moral one, why commit such cruel acts?

 

Harlin was once a successful director with films like Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger, but without any competent action or charming twists, this throwback to suave 90s capers feels detached from the very thing it’s attempting to recreate.

About the Film Critic
Isaac Parkinson
Isaac Parkinson
Amazon Prime