Action/Comedy, 90 Minutes, 2014
The celebration of Simon Pegg [IMDB] continues with this Australian import. Pegg exercises his range here, taking on the role of Charlie Wolfe, a professional doer of dirty deeds and all-around bad guy. He’s been hired by a local club owner (Callan Mulvey [IMDB]) to eliminate his cheating wife (Alice Braga [IMDB]).
What he doesn’t know is that the club owner’s overbearing sister (Teresa Palmer [IMDB]) and her cuckolded husband (Sullivan Stapleton [IMDB]) have already put a plan in place to deal with the wife. They’re planning to use the insurance money to pay off gambling debts demanded by a corrupt cop (Bryan Brown [IMDB]). Adding to the confusion is the wife’s boyfriend (Thor’s own older brother, Luke Hemsworth [IMDB]), who’s trying to track her down.
These stories collides in unexpected, often bloody, ways. Pegg lathers on a smarmy charm perfect for the character. He’s well supported by the rest of the cast and the story. It plays out in a non-linear fashion and does an excellent job of answering most of the complex questions it raises.
The questions that it doesn’t answer are where the problems lie. There are a lot of holes in this script. Most are small and ultimately forgivable, but there are a fair share of head scratchers. Elements are introduced, such as an electric fence that selectively stops characters, seemingly for no reason. The main story is solid, but too many minor aspects are more convenient than sensical.
Sadly, those elements most guilty of this are also the least important. Most could have been eliminated outright, or at the very least easily replaced with less confusing solutions; all with little or no impact to the story. A little polishing of the script would have smoothed out the rough edges considerably.
There’s also the rather large issue that, despite significant conversation on the topic, “kill me three times” simply makes no reasonable sense. There aren’t three deaths… or three failed attempts… or three plots… or three anything. You can tease out some tortured explanations, but nothing satisfying.
It’s interesting to see Pegg step outside of his comfort zone. He may never make it as an action hero (or villain), but it’s clear from this that he could pull it off. Probably. The movie presents a complex web of interactions, even if it is flawed in some of the finer details and can never defend its title. Think of it, perhaps, as “Pulp Fiction Lite”?