Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The November Man

'The November Man' marks the sure death of the fun summer blockbuster season. Made for fans of completely run-of-the-mill spy thrillers starring washed-up actors trying to live in their glory days. (I'm referring to Pierce Brosnan, of course.)

Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use.

The November Man

Sorry to say it, folks – but summer is over. That fun part of the year when huge studio films are unloaded on us one after the other – it’s dead. Now begins the dry spell. No more spectacle. No more smile-inducing entertainment. The November Man is the grim reaper heralding the sure death of that purely entertaining season. It’s time to buckle up and wait out the drought.

Pierce Brosnan stars in The November Man as agent Devereaux, one of the best special agents in the world. The movie opens with Devereaux training new agent Mason during a live operation. Due to Mason’s disobedient and hasty actions, things go sour. Jump ahead several years. Devereaux is now a retired agent that’s called to action for a special mission that has meaning to him – his wife has been under deep cover and needs help with extraction, as she’s learned a game-changing truth about Russia’s president-to-be. For reasons unexplained to the audience, Mason is now a full-blown agent and there don’t seem to have been any repercussions from his bad actions during the opening bit.

As Devereaux attempts to rescue his wife, things again turn sour when a sniper round finds its way into his wife’s chest. At the other end of the scope is Mason, which causes us to scratch our heads because both characters are playing for the same team. Who ordered the kill on Devereaux and wife? Who ordered Mason to take the shot? What’s meant to be a big final-act surprise reveal is obvious in this moment – which is the problem with all of The November Man‘s reveals: you can see them coming from miles away.

On-the-run Devereaux quickly learns what his wife discovered while on assignment: someone witnessed Russia’s crook future president do something that would not only end his political career, but put him away for the rest of his life. Knowing the name of the hiding witness, Devereaux employs the help of the last person to see her alive: a gorgeous case worker played by former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko. Together, they’ve got to avenge Devereaux’s wife, reveal corrupt leaders in the U.S., save Russia from the two-faced presidential nominee and avoid being sniped by Mason.

Cram every spy thriller ever made into one clunky, unexplained and absolutely generic 108-minute unsatisfying mash-up and that’s what you’re getting with The November Man. Labor Day weekend is always a horrible one at the box office – but with The November Man being the most noteworthy opening, this Labor Day weekend might prove even weaker than usual.

(Photo credit: Relativity Media)

1 1/2 out of 5

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