The last two films in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback tour have provided schlocky but enjoyable titillation, with The Last Stand edging out Escape Plan as the better of the two. Directed by David Ayer, Sabotage (2014) has loftier ambitions, but despite some solid work from its leading man the film is tripped up by its messily executed plot.
Loosely based on Agatha Christie’s novel Ten Little Indians (yes, really), Schwarzenegger stars as John ‘Breacher’ Wharton, leader of an elite team of DEA agents looking to swindle $10 million from a cartel. What initially looks to be a successful heist proves anything but; the stolen loot goes missing, and the team fall under heavy scrutiny from their superiors. A lack of evidence means the investigation is soon dropped, but one by one the team are soon picked off by unknown assassins.
Although fourteen years have passed since Malcolm D. Lee’s The Best Man (1999), the characters resonated in such a way that the idea of seeing them together again was an enjoyable one to ponder. It’s been a long time coming but finally the sequel, The Best Man Holiday (2013) has arrived, and thanks to its likeable cast it’s just about worth the wait.
An opening montage reminds us of the events of the previous film before we catch up with its characters in the present day. Bestselling author Harper (Taye Diggs) now has a child on the way with wife Robin (Sanaa Lathan), but is having trouble with his writing. Meanwhile, NFL star Lance (Morris Chestnut) is set to end his illustrious career to spend time with his wife Mia (Monica Calhoun) and his kids. Seeing Lance’s retirement as an opportunity to cash-in by writing his biography, Harper accepts Mia’s invitation for a holiday get-together with old friends Julian (Harold Perrineau), Candy (Regina Hall), Shelby (Melissa De Sousa), Jordan (Nia Long) and Quentin (Terrence Howard).
There are few stronger motivators for decent people committing morally questionable acts than family. It’s this subject matter that director Denis Villeneuve – whose debut feature Incendies was Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010 – has utilised in Prisoners, a brilliantly dark and devastating thriller that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Read the rest of this review at Flicks and the City here.