John Cusack and Emile Hirsch are certainly a couple of capable actors and for Cusack, he could easily be considered a legend in the business. His glory days are seemingly long behind him although I think he still has plenty of great performances inside just waiting for the right scripts to pull them out. “Pursuit” never gives the impression of being one of those scripts as it goes through the motions in the straight-to-video action market.
Hirsch plays a hacker named Calloway who is trying to get his kidnapped wife from a cartel which naturally causes a clash with detectives who bring him into custody. It isn’t long before Calloway escapes and continues his mission to find his wife resulting in a string of formulaic conversations and some admittedly fun spots of gunplay, fist fights, and chase sequences. I will admit though the procedural story between the action sequences is greatly lacking any unique elements to invest in. Despite that, there is some fun to be had when the action kicks into gear if you enjoy these relatively empty B-actioners.
The characters are all a bit plug-and-play and Hirsch’s character is way too overdone to the point he looks like a guy with a bad Tekashi 6ix9ine Halloween costume. He plays the role straight. He’s taking the material seriously but as a viewer it’s hard to take him seriously. Cusack sort of sleepwalks through the role. I would say he is mailing it in, but he certainly doesn’t show much intent on elevating the material as his character pops in from time to time.
What should be the supporting cast comes in to fill the bulk of the runtime as the story progresses through all the usual story wrinkles and character dynamics. And overall “Pursuit” isn’t a horrible film by any means. I think the action is nicely staged and doesn’t rely on too many digital effects considering the smaller budget. There are some over-the-top moments here and there but overall, it’s not a bad movie for those who like this genre of B-movies.
If you tend to lean towards blockbusters “Pursuit” may be a pass but for diehard fans of action it does have its moments sprinkled in. The performances are serviceable and despite wanting more Cusack and less silly of a character design for Hirsch would have helped bring a touch of validity to a movie that had its share of quality elements to counter its glaring weaknesses.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.