Mark Wahlberg is back on the big-screen in the Paramount+ sci-fi actioner “Infinite” from director Antoine Fuqua. Wahlberg plays a man that is having a hard time in life as he deals with his schizophrenia until he realizes what he thinks are hallucinations, are actually memories from his past lives. Naturally once this realization is made, he will find a new purpose in his life, one that will put him at odds with people from his past. So, you can see it’s a basic action plot-line that’s amplified with a science-fiction veneer and there are spots of fun to be had here.
The cast overall surrounding Wahlberg does manage to bring a more appealing emotional gusto to the collection of simplistic and routine characters on paper. Wahlberg’s virtually playing Wahlberg like he tends to do in this genre, but it works. The guy’s a star and his charisma does shine in a film that without it’s cast and special-effects, would most certainly be a B-movie in the ‘old days’. Chiwetel Ejiofor makes the most of a plug-and-play villain. He goes all in and it works to build a formidable foe for Wahlberg. Toby Jones and Sophie Cookson were solid as well and everybody does bring serviceable performances that do show effort.
The story however does lack some of the needed layering to properly frame out the world of this plot. A (large) bulk of the dialogue is exposition, and the constant explaining does start to go in one ear and out the other by the time the back half of the film comes around. It’s interesting out of the gate and builds some thought-provoking concepts as Wahlberg deals with these visions and unknown knowledge. He can speak various languages. He can craft a samurai sword by hand (because who can’t). He knows things and he doesn’t know how he knows them. So, there is some appeal in where it all will go and what it all means. Which was all fun popcorn movie appeal.
But as the world of this story develops, the intrigue begins to waver. The routine explanation results in unauthentic dialogue. The characters feel like they are citing lines they memorized, and it undercuts the potential intensity that this interesting concept could have provided. It has a cool visual style to it. The production design is detailed, and it does pull you into the settings surprisingly well. The plot however feels like it’s going through the motions, and the substance it tries to explore all feels a bit processed. Overall, it isn’t a horrible movie. It’s just an underwhelming one that despite delivering some stylistic action sequences feels like empty calories.
This movie reminded me a lot of “Project Power” in terms of production style. It has a clean studio feel to it that does keep the story from building a unique atmosphere to call its own. The action-sequences were not too bad. The slow-motion techniques are a bit played out, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still provide spots of cool visual appeal when the action kicks in. There are some decent fight scenes. Some chases as well that get the blood going a little. But on the other hand, it’s a bit predictable when it shouldn’t have been. The narrative doesn’t deep dive into the concepts of the plot as much as it uses them as a theme to inject visual flair. This one has its moments of fun. It just doesn’t bring the substance needed to carry the run-time and it’s worth a shot for fans of the genre, but it will be forgettable.
Anthony J Digioia II - SilverScreen Analysis © All Rights Reserved