Brosnan More Geriatric Bourne Than Bond in Blasé November Man
- Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Release Date: August 27, 2014
Rating: R (for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use)
Run Time: 108 min.
Director: Roger Donaldson
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Bill Smitrovich, Amila Terzimehic, Lazar Ristovski, Mediha Musliovic, Eliza Taylor, Caterina Scorone
It’s been 12 years since Pierce Brosnan has driven James Bond's legendary Aston Martin, and a lot has changed in the spy game since he hung up his tuxedo for good. With Daniel Craig now in the starring role, Bond films are grittier and more realistic—no wacky gadgetry and campy one-liners required.
Now 61, Brosnan is apparently hip to how things have changed as he becomes decidedly more Jason Bourne than James Bond (save for one old-school Bond quip in the beginning) in The November Man. Trouble is, as much as the filmmakers would like us to believe Brosnan is basically the geriatric equivalent of Matt Damon, The November Man is nowhere near as clever or compelling as a Bourne film. Not even close.
Sure, there are plenty of car chases, morally ambiguous characters and a serious body count when the credits roll, but what serves as a loose adaptation of the Bill Granger novel There Are No Spies falls into veritable no man's land. It's not the kind of pulse-quickening entertainment that keeps a viewer on the edge of his/her seat, nor the serious spy film that makes a larger cultural point. It’s not even light-hearted genre parody like Red or The Expendables. Instead, with a paint-by-numbers plot, uninspired performances and little method to the madness, it's no wonder The November Man released in the month where most films go to die: August.
As Peter Devereaux, the tough-as-nails CIA killer forced into early retirement after an operation gone very wrong, Brosnan is still in good-enough shape to be convincing. And because of Devereaux's agility and unpleasant demeanor with no shortage of steely gazes, everyone knows he’ll never be truly satisfied running a little café in Switzerland, which is exactly what he's doing when he's tapped for "one last mission."
In the grand tradition of spy movies, the "one last mission" never goes as planned. Devereaux is sent to Moscow to extract an agent with the lowdown on one of the Kremlin’s rising stars, a cartoonish, Putin-esque villain, Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski, Casino Royale). Of course, the pretty agent named Alice (Olga Kurylenko, (Oblivion) a dead ringer for a young Catherine Zeta-Jones) has personal reasons for wanting Federov's capture, and her character arc is terrifying but thoroughly predictable.
Perhaps sensing the film's inherent been-there-done-that vibe, the writers incorporate yet another storyline involving Devereaux and the much younger agent who'd always looked up to him, Mason (Luke Bracey, G.I. Joe Retaliation). Filling the role of the son Devereaux never had, Mason was always a bit of a disappointment. Not only did his refusal to follow orders result in several civilian casualties (including a child), but Mason did everything a spy wasn't supposed to, including forming romantic relationships.
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