November Man – 2014
Director Roger Donaldson
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Eliza Taylor, Caterina Scorsone, Bill Smitrovich, Will Patton
Screenplay by Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek based on the Bill Granger book, There Are No Spies
About 30 minutes into The November Man, Pierce Brosnan’s Devereaux, fresh off of saving Kurylenko’s Alice from certain death, informs her in the most defeated tone possible, that she shouldn’t start counting on him. Around 30 minutes later, he tells her that losing her “was never part of the plan.” Okay, so that’s where we’re going with this. In the spirit of full disclosure, it was kind of delightful to see Brosnan back in the action game. He certainly knows his way around the genre, for reasons that would waste everyone’s time to mention. Kind of like mentioning anything about the Six Degrees relationship between he and the afore-mentioned damsel. We get the reference, and we can accept it. It’s just that there should be more than this and some poorly coordinated and even more poorly scripted action scenes to show for it.
Devereaux is retired CIA, who got out of the game because, you know, a kid got killed. He abandoned the protegé he was working with because that kid took the shot that killed the kid as collateral. Before one can say “they pulled me back in,” Devereaux is in Russia, trying to save an old flame. If that would have worked, then the movie would have only been 20 minutes max. When he goes for vengeance, he discovers his old buddy Mason (Bracey) was the one who pulled the trigger. Surprised? Of course not.
But wait, it gets even more obvious. Or better, don’t bother.
There is not one plot point that isn’t telegraphed in The November Man. To be sure, the only surprises occur when, as indicated above, the script does not remember what the characters’ motives are and has them say something counter to what they’ve said before. Then there’s the time that Devereaux attacks a woman for no real reason. Enough about that though.
Look, I can’t say anything good about this film. It is just below competent. Brosnan and Donaldson have done better work often in the past. Hell, even Smitrovich has done better work for most of his career. Bracey and Kurylenko, perhaps not. Bracey’s going to be Johnny Utah for the new Point Break, though. My friend The Grouchnapper should be excited about that.
The only thing one has to look forward to in this clunker is when the hit woman with the big schnoz gets an ironic hit with a gardening tool. And they didn’t even finish that one right. The person who does it gets back before she is logged off of the pc, though. So that counts for intrigue, I suppose. Oh, and I would be remiss if there was no mention of Will Patton in a rather grotesque wig, and Smitrovich with a rather grotesque bald head. They should have left well enough alone.
Before you get to excited, just know they’ve already commissioned a sequel. That film is not something to look forward to. The sequel to the Smitrovich classic Ted is something to look forward to.
(* out of *****)