Ben Affleck Stars In Bland Action Thriller With A Weak Script

Jun 3, 2023

Robert Rodriguez’s latest action thriller felt like a disappointment waiting to happen. He wrote the original screenplay over 20 years ago, but the film hadn’t seen much life since 2018 when Max Borenstein rewrote the script. Three production halts and one insurance lawsuit later, Hypnotic released in theaters on May 12 to poor reviews, and it’s not too difficult to see why. Though it contains fascinating ideas, it is not executed well, coming off as an experiment that tends to die faster than we can get any answers. Rodriguez may have been going for a thrilling film that features creativity and excitement, but Hypnotic is everything but.

The story follows Detective Danny Rourke (Ben Affleck) as he returns to the field after the recent abduction of his seven-year-old daughter Minnie (Ionie Olivia Nieves). In his first case back, Rourke and his partner Nicks (JD Pardo) come across a bank heist that isn’t all it seems. In fact, it’s the opposite as the culprit Dellrayne (William Fichtner) is able to warp reality and get people to do his dirty work with only his mind. During the investigation, Rourke comes across a picture of his daughter in a safe deposit box, leading him to partner with a local psychic named Diana (Alice Braga). Together, they uncover a secret government program and a dangerous plot in the process.

If you just read the plot and thought that Hypnotic sounds ridiculous, you wouldn’t be wrong. Just about everything in the film is absurd, including the fact that Rodriguez’s latest seems to draw inspiration from Nolan’s Memento. Of course, the action thriller isn’t executed nearly as well thanks to a poorly-written screenplay that seems to over-explain the plot through dialogue. Instead of relying on the skills of the cast, they are there primarily to explain everything that’s happening in real time. Consequently, the film comes off more boring than it actually is.

In a film starring Ben Affleck, Alice Braga, and William Fichtner, not even their talents are enough to elevate this film towards becoming more than just something to watch in the background. Rodriguez also takes inspiration from Nolan’s Inception by warping the realities of the setting and characters on screen. Yet, it all feels bland in comparison. To make matters worse, it doesn’t seem like the cast enjoyed being onscreen. Even Affleck, who has an astounding talent for sternness in his roles, just seemed bored. His chemistry with Braga was severely lacking as well.

There is one thing to look forward to heading into Hypnotic — the film is full of corny one-liners and silly action sequences. Quick quips like “hypnotics did THAT?” flood the screenplay from beginning to end. But beyond these wonky moments, there are some intriguing action sequences that will offer decent entertainment and keep your attention for a bit. Luckily, Rebel Rodriguez’s score is right there to amplify these moments, even if it is overshadowed by the predictability of the scenes.

Ultimately, Rodriguez and company did everything they could to put together an intriguing story in this action thriller, but the execution simply wasn’t there. Even drawing from the likes of popular action thrillers wasn’t enough to warrant a wide release in theaters. There’s a good movie in here somewhere based off concept alone. However, the cinematography is bland, the acting is underwhelming, and the script is written in a way that feels like its writers had no confidence in the premise. Rodriguez as a filmmaker has a history of implementing creativity and inspiration in his works. But with Hypnotic, the end result is a dull feature that doesn’t come close to its potential.

Hypnotic released in theaters on May 12. The film is 92 minutes long and rated R for violence.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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