Overall Grade: (C)
Sure there was nothing highly creative about this home-invasion flick but it was relatively fast paced, with a nicely timed plot twist that managed to save an average film, whether it was by accident or not.
“NO GOOD DEED” follows a convict named Colin (Idris Elba) who has recently been denied parole. After escaping during transport he finds himself stranded on the road in the middle of a stormy night. Mother of two Terry (Taraji P. Henson), is alone with her children for the weekend when she hears her doorbell.
Mistaken by his charming and calculated demeanor, she lets Colin into her home without seeing the true killer raging inside him, nor the true motives behind this late night visit that was not nearly as coincidental as she would be led to expect.
This was a classic example that a film doesn’t need to be exceptional to be entertaining. A film simply needs to do enough things well to make for an enjoyable albeit one-time viewing. “No Good Deed” did just enough to pull off such a task and the result was a fun yet run-of-the-mill viewing.
The clear strong suit of this film was the performances by Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson. Despite the scripting being on the recycled side, Elba was able to deliver a compelling antagonist and just like the filmmakers wanted, he was as alluring as he was evil. Having not seen him take a role like this before it was fun and enough to carry the generic story-line and shows he can play a range of characters with convincing results.
Henson was also solid in her role of the innocent leading lady in this home-invasion flick. She brought intrigue and a believable persona to her role that helped make some tense situations out of some scenes that were lacking in dramatic effect due to some lack-luster writing. Henson and Elba also delivered some strong, albeit awkward chemistry mostly as a result of the odd directions the story-line attempts to go.
On the downside there was a clear lack of ambition taken into the writing of this film. While it was enough to deliver a fun enough viewing for a short run-time, it was highly predictable and really only takes you to all the same places other films in this sub-genre have already brought us to.
The first-act starts out strong and sets up a nice premise to a thrilling film but as the second-act begins the pace really began to slow. The story-line seemed to slip off the track and over-work a premise the filmmakers clearly wanted to round out in the third-act but forgot to connect to during much of the middle of the film.
The saving grace for this film was a nicely conceived plot-twist that took a rather generic thriller and made it a film worth watching. The creation of this twist evoked a breath of fresh enthusiasm just in time to save the emotion of intrigue it intended. My interest was peaked as the third-act began and while sure you can predict the outcome this film will give you it still does not completely kill the enjoyment.
Sure this film was not a horrible watch but it was a rather mindless one. For two quality actors like Elba and Henson it would have been nice to see them in something a little more intricate and compelling. But as it was, their performances were still able to carry this paint-by-numbers thriller with an over simplified story-line to make it a viable choice for a night with a movie.