Message from the King Review
The Story/The Direction:
The plot is about a man, Jacob King (Boseman) from South Africa who travels to Los Angeles after a mysterious phone call from his sister asking for his help. He finds out that she has been killed. He then investigates who did it and meets Paul Wentworth (Evans) and Mike Preston (Molina) who both seem to be involved more than they lead on. Du Welz gives the viewer a gritty noir type film that gives a good amount of tension to a fast-paced story. The action is great and there is a good amount of fight scenes that are shot extremely well including one that shows King using a bike chain. The film though works mainly due to its star actors.
The cast is the main reason I watched the film. Boseman aka Jackie Robinson/James Brown/T'Challa/Thurgood Marshall is a star and honestly, he is now the type of actor that I'll watch a movie just because he's in it. As with his other films, he is a cool force that pushes the film forward. Seeing Evans and Molina in this film was also fun with Evans doing extremely well again in a villainous role. Having these actors in this film makes it much better than it should be.
While the cast is good and the action at times feels like Taken, the film is not a new cog in the machine. The actors are playing characters which don' give them much to work with and are somewhat silly at times such as the main antagonist's profession. This is due to the weak script. For example, it is hard to become too attached to the King character and how he feels about his sister because they haven't talked too much over the passing years. While King is a mysterious, duty-bound avenging man who comes into a new setting to punch and ask questions later like the Bourne or Taken series, you can't really root for him because you don't care about him, his sister or even the connection they once had. I also did not know how powerful King was. In one moment he was going through a lot of the gangsters coming at him easily but then he gets beat by a couple of average cops. There also seems to be an attempt of a "don't judge a book by its cover" type message with this film but the script executes this message very sloppily and you don't care about it. The title of this film also seems to be as lazily named as it doesn't really apply to the film aside from a trailer line.
If this movie had come out before Taken or the Bourne films, it could have been decent with its stars and action sequences. However, since it did not, it truly lacks originality and the plot is pretty predictable. I wasn't too bored with watching it but I neither would watch it again by choice. It is a film that puts Boseman in a situation that shows he can be a decent action star and that Evans can be a great villain. Both of them make this film somewhat watchable and can be playing in the background while you do chores around the house.
Rating: 2.5/5.0 bowties
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