Thanks to the success of streaming services like Netflix, every old movie or television you missed out on seems to be right at your fingertips, ready to be called upon at a moments notice. Since, like most of the people around the world, I’m stuck at home, I just can’t help but just binge watch a ton of stuff that I wanted to see and, recently, it did feel like I’ve seen each and everything I wanted to see but didn’t. All of a sudden, I just couldn’t find anything that I wanted to watch anymore on Netflix because I just couldn’t think of anything I really wanted to watch at that moment!
So I decided to flip the script, so to speak. Instead of wracking my brain thinking of what movie I want to watch, I let Netflix itself make the choice for me. I basically just searched for action movies and then just chose any random film that came up. I also purposefully opted out of any movie that I already watched or knew about. These were all going to be movies that never even heard of or never realized even existed! Oh, and since I do have access to a VPN, I also chose random movies from different areas of the globe, just to add a little bit more unknown variables to the selection process.
I did manage to watch three movies: The Take/Bastille Day, Heist (2015) and Erased/The Expatriate. And since I did watch all three, I decided to just give a quick review on all three of them right here and right now! Oh, there will be some minor SPOILERS for these films as, well, they are kind of old and I’m not really sure if anyone really cares for them a whole lot. Heck, maybe the SPOILERS might even make you want to watch them!
The Take/Bastille Day
The Take AKA Bastille Day is a 2016 film starring Idris Elba. He plays a CIA agent who has to team up with a skilled pickpocket in order to stop a series of bombings that is threatening to destroy the country of France on the eve of Bastille Day.
Now, the biggest issue I have with The Take/Bastille Day isn’t actually the fault of the film itself. It’s how Netflix handled how they added the subtitles to the film. More specifically, it’s how Netflix didn’t add subtitles to some scenes. As The Take/Bastille Day takes place in France, most of the supporting cast speak in French. That’s all well and good since, well, they are in France. However, there aren’t any subtitles for the French speakers! So, for a good chunk of The Take/Bastille Day’s 92-minute runtime, you can’t understand what they’re saying unless you speak French! If it were just a few scenes, I would understand. But for practically all of the French speaking scenes? That’s just annoying!
I will say, despite not understanding what a lot of the characters were saying, I was still mostly able to follow the plot. However, that’s only because I’m familiar with a lot of movie tropes so I could expect or predict what was going to happen. That may sound like a positive but that just means that The Take/Bastille Day isn’t all that original and doesn’t really offer anything fresh. The action is passable but they use a lot of shaky camera and quick cuts, which can be confusing. Idris Elba is charismatic enough but it’s not enough to save this movie from getting a thumbs down from me. I can’t really say if I would give it a better recommendation if I could understand the French speaking dialog. But even if Netflix does fix this oversight, I don’t see myself sitting down and slogging through The Take/Bastille Day again just to catch up on what they were talking about.
Heist is a 2015 film starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Gina Carano, David Bautista and Robert De Niro. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a down on his luck card dealer who is in desperate need for money to pay for his daughter’s hospital bills. When his boss (played by Robert De Niro) refuses to give him a loan, he hatches a plan to steal the money from the casino he works with the help of Dave Bautista’s character. Things go sideways and now, with a police woman (played by Gina Carano) on their trail, the criminals must find a way to get away with their stolen loot while avoiding Robert De Niro’s men.
I will say I was rather surprised by this film. It does seem like a straight up heist movie where things go sideways at first glance but there are a few surprising twists that genuinely caught me off guard. I will say that Heist does try to be smarter that it really is because there is one or two twists that doesn’t really add up if you really think about it for a second or two. Otherwise, the overall plot is fine.
The acting is also more than just decent, with all the actors giving a believable performance for the most part. Although Robert De Niro is the biggest name here, he isn’t actually the best actor in Heist. That honor goes to Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Then again, maybe that just my personal bias because I do like the guy and he comes off as incredibly charming here. Dave Bautista gives off a surprisingly good performance here as well. Sure, he’s still the big guy who yells a lot but he comes off as much more vicious than usual, which I really liked. While I do like Gina Carano, her acting skills are definitely not up to par with the rest of the cast.
Overall, I really did like Heist but that’s because of two reasons. The first is that it does try to be a smart movie, even though it doesn’t pull off some of the twists well. I still give it some points for trying to do something unexpected. The second reason is that I did keep my expectations super low so that may have influenced why I think it’s much better than it really is. Still, I do say you can give Heist a chance if you have 93 minutes to spare.
Erased/The Expatriate is a 2012 film starring Aaron Eckhart. He plays a man who moved to Belgium with his daughter to work for a company that’s supposed to design security systems. When the company and all his records proving his employment is mysteriously “erased” (that’s the title of the movie!), he and his daughter are now on the run as it seems like they are now the target of assassins.
Right off the bat, I will say that the weakest point of Erased/The Expatriate is the daughter. More precisely, how the daughter was written. Basically, she’s just there to be saved. She’s your typical damsel in distress but much more annoying as she makes dumb decisions that actually puts her and her father in danger! It’s like she understands the danger they’re in yet decides to get all emotional and make irrational choices at the most inopportune times. The actress herself isn’t bad but it’s the character that is terribly written.
Also, the “heroes” don’t really save anyone by themselves. This normally isn’t an issue but the problem is the film goes out of its way to put the people that try to help them in harms way! This leads to a huge body count of innocent people who don’t really deserve to get killed. Some of them just die horrible deaths and the “heroes” never really mourn them nor to they feel responsible for what happened to them. Because of this, I don’t really feel all that empathetic to their plight. I will say the action is just okay; at least they don’t rely on shaky cam for the fight scenes so they’re easy to follow. The story is okay but super predictable. Aaron Eckhart’s performance is just okay overall. Nothing spectacular at the least but nothing atrocious as well.
Erased/The Expartiate is not the worst movie I’ve seen but it is certainly one of the most uninspired I’ve seen in a while. I can’t really recommend it, especially because of how idiotic the daughter was here.
Have you seen any of the movies reviewed above? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments section below!