Grant S. Johnson’s “Agent Game” is now On Demand featuring a relatively familiar cast of faces. Mel Gibson, Dermot Mulroney, and Jason Issacs are no slouches. Yet they are not enough to save this movie. The plot does feel like a mash-up of other CIA and agency themed thrillers. This one tells multiple plot-lines, over multiple time-lines, featuring a lot of interchangeable characters around the big-three. And yes, it is as messy as it sounds. The fragmented storytelling approach felt unnecessary and despite my efforts to invest in this movie the hummingbird style focus switching from one story layer to another routinely pulled me out of things.
There were a couple brief moments of enjoyable tension but it was short lived. Because the confusing plot progression was a major drawback and after a while all the exposition, and sporadic layering felt like an attempt to cover-up a film that didn’t really have a focal story to tell at all. I tried to find the core underlying plot to this movie and it was relatively absent. In its place are all the usual genre tropes and clichés. There are a lot of the dark, confined, and dingy backdrops that we’ve seen many times in similar films. There are a lot of familiar conversations as well that sadly come off as jibber jabber mixed with exposition more than genuinely moving the plot forward.
All of which consumes a huge bulk of the run-time. The action isn’t too frequent and what it does provide isn’t well staged, well lit, edited, or shot for that matter to create much energy or visual appeal. Really the action feels as messy as the storytelling so they do go hand-in-hand. Now, I will admit, despite a thin role and not much to do despite being the focal character in the story, Mel Gibson does bring “Agent Game” some charisma. Admittedly, very little given his part in this story, but hey, it was something, and I could say the same for Mulroney and Isaacs. They’ve all been better in countless other films, but their screen presence in this movie was a bonus.
I think “Agent Game” would have benefited from keeping it simple. The story plays around with all the agency notions, like one is always expendable to someone above them, and to never trust anyone, or any mission, scapegoating and all the usual CIA cinematic stereotypes. The story is jumping from here to there and back again throughout and it was unnecessary. Either way this movie was going to feel recycled and chopping and screwing the story-line isn’t going to change that. However, keeping a smoother flow would have greatly increased the engagement level because when something isn’t overly unique to begin with, people aren’t naturally going to be interested in investing unneeded efforts to follow along with it.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.