A Steven Seagal movie that, for some reason, has Nicolas Cage instead
211 (2018): 2 out of 10: A team of ex-US special forces mercenaries get ripped off by their employer so they plan to rob a small-town Massachusetts bank where he had wired some of their funds. IMDB summary says “Bank heist movie in the vein of “End of Watch” meets “Black Hawk Down” HA HA HA HA… OMG no… I know that IMDB summaries are not under oath or anything but I would think “A Steven Seagal movie that for some reason has Nicolas Cage instead” would be a more accurate synopsis.
The Good: There is a lot of shooting people in this movie and it is done competently. Not terribly well or artistic mind you, just a keep the camera in focus and the squibs go off after a big bang level of expertise. (This will not be mistaken for the gun battle in the middle of “Hold The Dark” anytime soon.)
The Bad: Everything Else. Let’s start with just a few highlights. The plot is awful. Here is the bad guy’s actual plot. Seal team four bros has been working as guns for hire for a corrupt businessman in Pakistan. He hasn’t paid them for two years and is looking to run off before paying them the million dollars that he owes them. They catch him and he tells them that he wired their money to a small independent bank in Massachusetts. These geniuses decide to fly halfway around the world to rob the bank where the money was wired.
Of course just because I wire money to a bank doesn’t mean the cash mysteriously arrives in their vault. That is not how banks, wiring money, or anything else works.
The bros’ plan doesn’t get any better. (Two guys in camouflage hats with an airsoft rifle could rob this bank in under five minutes, yet these idiots can’t even pull that off). Not to mention the Seal Bros sport stupid Millennial beards and don’t seem to understand the concept of how masks work.
Our bad guys are only one of a dozen plots intertwined in this film. We have a pregnant daughter, bullies, casual racism, old people, drinking coffee, $20 keep the change considered such a good tip I could describe him to a police sketch artist, stolen artifacts, Melania Trump as an Interpol agent, and Nicolas Cage.
These plots are given in little two-minute snippets, like the passenger introductions in The Poseidon Adventure. They range in quality from Hallmark Channel awful to good lord have they met a human before atrocious.
The Ugly: The acting. I mention Melania Trump as an Interpol agent above and some may think it is an attempt at some slick political putdown. But Romanian actress Alexandra Dinu is a dead ringer for Melania Trump in both looks and accent. You may wonder why the production flew a Romanian actress all the way to small Massachusets town to be in a cheap Nicolas Cage movie or how Bleona (Only one name) a beloved luminary in her native Albania since her teens who through the sheer force of her phenomenal talent, bold vision, and larger-than-life personality has achieved international stardom also showed up on set. I have a secret. This isn’t Massachusets. I know, I know, what dark magic could turn Bulgarian city center into a modern American small town? If you said put generic English signs above the buildings reading Watch Store and Grocery, you are correct.
I bring this up because the movie simply has too many handicaps. Now a talented actor would be hard-pressed to turn the barely written tropes into a great performance, but people who are speaking English phonetically are in for a very rough ride. And so is the audience.
Now I have enjoyed movies where foreign actors are struggling with a subpar script and the English language. But those movies usually involve a topless sunbather being attacked by a Giant Octopus. A scenario this movie surprisingly lacks.
In conclusion: The movie isn’t fun. It is bad, of course, but it isn’t entertainingly bad. It just is kind of there. There is no spark in the story, everyone is a trope, and Nicolas Cage only raises his voice once and is told to calm down. There are no real surprises. I mean, you already have two attractive actresses, a director who can keep the camera in focus and Nicolas Cage. Why not make something fun?