In this day and age, amidst all the remakes and reboots, I have to admit, I never thought the idea would even occur to have a sequel made to the 1997 thriller film The Edge, like how they made sequels to Deep Blue Sea, and Lake Placid. I mean, what was the plan for the plotline? Have two descendants of the man-eating bear show up and try to kill off old Anthony Hopkins and all his sons/daughters, trying to rectify how the original film didn’t portray the literally rich protagonist as an asshole because all owners of a corporation have to be assholes, never the other people trying to take them down out of greed and envy.
So the bears show up in the middle of New York after somehow catching a ride on this transportation ship and hibernating with the crates on the ship. At least they had an excuse for them not shitting everywhere and trying to eat everything on the ship. Then they wake up, force their way off the ship, run through New York causing havoc and chaos before bashing through the glass windows of the corporate building and mauling everyone in the hallway, including poor old Anthony Hopkins. Then it becomes a stalker film with everyone else in the building making their way upwards (they have to take the stairs because the power is out, because of course it is), while some take their chances trying to hide from the bears on certain floors, before the bears proceed to the next floor up.
And of course, since Hollywood lacks intelligence today (then again, most films that are in the horror/thriller genre tend to have dumbass motherfuckers), these super intelligent and overpowered bears easily take out any security team sent in to shoot them. And then they take the guns the security team has, learn to shoot them like Planet of the Apes, and start killing people at a more rapid and efficient rate. And then the final confrontation happens on the roof of the building, and that’s when the hurricane hits to make it all more intense.
Ok, come on, how long did it take you to realize I was completely full of shit?
Rated: 3.5 / 5
Wokeness: 1 / 5
This film surprised the hell out of me. Something made in 2018, 10 years after the film industry slowly started to go to hell, that is not only a ripoff of Oceans 11, but also takes cues from Inception with this weird subconscious shit. And, like Rick & Morty stated in some episode in Season 3 or 4, heist films have been ruined by Oceans 12. The film that basically established that heist films can just pull plot twists out of their ass without needing to drop clues or hints about it coming up. Because fuck people who pick up on clues and figure out how things will get pulled off ahead of time. Smart audiences aren’t supposed to exist. They’re not supposed to outsmart the screenwriters. Or hell, they’re not supposed to both outsmart the screenwriters, and still have fun regardless. Not to mention that other shitty magic heist film they tried to make into another Ocean’s franchise, Now You See Me.
What could this film possibly have that makes it stand out from all that stuff? Well, for starters, its a Russian film trying to be a British/American film. And that is something I want to see more of. You hear me Mutha Russia!? But it also results in something very strange. The actors are clearly speaking English, yet they got dubbed over anyway. I initially wasn’t sure how I felt about this, especially with the main protagonist who seems to be having too much of a good time with everything. But I eventually just went along with it.
Technical stuff aside, the film stays grounded for a little while, if you don’t count the weird vision shit at the beginning. Some con artist who wants to win big at some casino-like place that he staked out for months. The plan is going smoothly, until he becomes the victim of an individual who can actually do magic, altering his perception of reality in the manner of seeing the cards differently than they actually are. He gets busted, and now has to get $5 million to pay back the big casino guy he stole from, or else they’ll murder him (or worse).
Learning that magic is an actual thing now, he proceeds to seek out and hire a team of individuals who can also use actual magic to pull a heist. And to my amazement, the film pulls all this off much better than I expected. Because unlike most films I’ve seen, especially in the heist category (let alone magic apprentice category), all the people he gets a hold of aren’t THAT skilled with their abilities. There’s the guy who can control electronic devices (to an extent), but he spent most of his life just messing with lights and doing petty stuff with his ability. There’s the other guy who can hypnotize people, but he’s never been taught how to master his abilities (plus he has his own mental issues to deal with). There’s the spoiled brat who has telekinesis (only to the extent of lifting/levitating small objects, he doesn’t do any of that Rey shit), but he never used it for much beyond just having fun floating a couple rocks.
Then there’s the chick who can read minds and send messages into other people’s minds. Unlike the others, she had a parent who shared this ability to raise her and help her control and master this ability. However, while she is good at the mind-messaging, she’s a loner who doesn’t trust anyone, prefers shutting herself off to the rest of the world, and never had a reason to open herself up, given the goons that want to exploit her powers the same way they exploited her mother. And she has no ambitions.
The point being every single one of these characters, including the protagonist, have their flaws. The magic users can use their abilities, but not well enough to pull off a heist at a casino initially. The electronic guy has a hard time staying focused with what he should be doing; the telekinesis guy is an alcoholic who can go overboard, plus he hasn’t honed in his craft well enough to make altering the dice rolls seem natural (in the beginning, it’s obvious that the dice don’t land on their faces naturally); and the hypnotist sometimes goes too far with hypnotizing someone, making them go crazy and lose their shit.
As for the main normal non-magic mortal guy trying to bring all of them together, and the psychic girl, there is this one great scene after their initial trial run at a smaller casino where they both call each other out on the flaws in their personality. At first I worried this was going to be another one of those one-sided mental beatdown games where the man gets put in his place, but he actually lashes back at her where it hurts.
In a film with a world where magic exists, in spite of the overdone (and mostly unnecessary) special effects of “being in the zone”, this film is surprisingly grounded and has steady rules with how powerful these magic users should be and what they can do. It makes a clear distinction between magic users who just have magic but never use it professionally, and those who have done it professionally for years and have mastered their ability and know how far they can go. So some amount of training is necessary for the gang to get decent enough to pull off the job. They don’t just get good immediately.
As for the heist itself, yeah there’s a twist to it, and you could probably call out the twist before it happens, including what magical shenanigans will be in play. It’s decent enough. But the main moment of the film where it decides to get ambitious is when it decides to go full-on Inception mode, where the protagonist and psychic girl delve into their subconsciousness, and the visual portrayal of what that is like. It may primarily be flashy just to have flash in the film, but I was really digging it. I thought it was cool. And far more imaginative than what Nolan did with Inception (probably more accurate as to what being in a dream is like too).
If there’s anything I had a problem with, it’s the ending. Everything that happens from the “3 Month Later” and onwards is completely unnecessary and nonsensical. Would’ve been better if they left it at the flaming hand sequel bait moment (a sequel that will probably never happen). That, an Antonio Banderas looks like he’s there just for the paycheck, basically sleepwalking through his role like Bruce Willis does in pretty much everything he’s been in since after Looper (the last film where it looked like he actually gave a damn). But considering those are the only problems I had with the film, I can safely say this exceeded my expectations and ended up being a solid viewing experience. Recommended if you want a more fantastical heist film. Biggest surprise since Collide from 2016.
PS: I’m not comprehending why this film has such a negative rating on sites like IMDB. This is better than most of the shit we get these days. I mean, it’s no masterpiece, but it’s solid enough for what it is. Plus it’s entirely absent of any PC culture stuff as far as I can tell, which makes this one of the most refreshing post-2015 films I’ve seen in a long while.