Director Antoine Fuqua and Mark Wahlberg deal with reincarnation in an absurdly staged but stunning action film. Infinite tells the story of some chosen ones who remember their previous life when they are reborn. “The believers” accept this gift and try to improve humanity. “The Nihilists” regard it as a curse and resort to drastic means to embrace death. Based on the novel “The Reincarnationist Papers” by D. Eric Maikranz, Infinite has a fascinating setup fiddled with by a poorly written script. The film also has a scenario in which two main characters should have switched roles. Reversing the roles of the protagonist would have improved the narrative and casting chemistry.
Infinite begins with a spectacular chase in Mexico City. Its deadly consequences have dire consequences for the future. Decades later in what is now New York City, Evan McCauley (Mark Wahlberg) is a severe schizophrenic who has difficulty finding work. His only source of relief from intense hallucinations and nightmares are powerful antipsychotic drugs. McCauley supports himself with the production of Japanese katana swords. He never trained as a blacksmith or metallurgy. But somehow can make and use these exquisite weapons.
McCauley is arrested after trying to get his medication. He is interrogated by a terrifying man in an NYPD precinct. Bathurst (Chiwetel Ejiofor) puts several objects in front of him. He threatens McCauley with a game of Russian roulette. Identify what belonged to him in a previous life or die. McCauley is rescued in a breathtaking way by a mysterious woman (Sophie Cookson) in an armored supercar. As he strives to understand the scope of what is happening, his savior has a critical question. Are you the reincarnation of Heinrich Treadway (Dylan O’brien -> actor)?
Infinite has a few similarities with The matrix. A calm and restless man can be a new version of the greatest warrior who ever lived. The characters also have sophisticated names like “The Artisan”. If only the script was so detailed and well executed. infinite jumps from scene to scene with little connectivity. Bad guys pop up out of nowhere on every corner. In a matter of seconds, you’ll find secret locations that were supposedly hidden for years. Then you have the ridiculous, world-ending machinations of the villain. Chiwetel Ejiofor, a great actor, looks like a cartoon. He is surrounded by model henchmen who specialize in sneering. I had to laugh out loud during several scenes. This is not a desired or expected response.
Antoine Fuqua (Training day, The equalizer) is a seasoned action director and continues that trend here. Consistently solid action saves the film from its failures. The chases are tough and cruel. The shootouts and sword fighting are equally well done. Infinite is full of duels between deadly opponents. They compete against each other in highly cinematic locations. Outstanding scenes on a crane and a crashing plane deliver the big budget goods. The film can be enjoyed on an action-only basis.
Dylan O’Brien and Mark Wahlberg had to switch roles. In the context of the story, it makes more sense for a younger, more dynamic actor to play Evan McCauley. Wahlberg, older and established promotional product, would have been credible as Heinrich Treadway. O’Brien makes an impact with limited screen time. Everyone who has seen American assassin knows he has what it takes to wear an action blockbuster. A chance for a better movie has been missed on several fronts. Infinite is produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Closest to the Hole Productions and New Republic Pictures. It will be released exclusively on Paramount + on June 10th.
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