Pierce Brosnan is a master thief who gets recruited by a bunch of do-gooder criminals who want to steal millions of dollars worth of gold hidden away under a prison in Abu Dhabi. The gold is being used to fund terrorism and this group of ‘misfits’ want to steal it and give it away to international charities who will use it for more humanitarian efforts.
Sometimes I’m asked what’s the worst movie I’ve seen recently. Well, The Misfits has given me an easy answer to that question. To be blunt, it really stinks!
The Misfits attempts to be an action comedy, with a clever heist being pulled off with a bunch of fun, quirky characters working together bringing their specialized skills together to get the job done for this noble cause. We’re meant to be rooting for them and having a grand time watching this band of misfits get the better of these baddies.
The thing is – none of it works. Nothing. Not one element of this film clicks or gives it a jolt to make even a small portion of it entertaining. It’s across the board very bad.
Our group of heroes are boringly written, none have any unique personalities. They’re kind of those ‘fill’ characters. You know, they help fill out a room when needed, but once they leave the scene you completely forget about them. Their objectives are to just act and pose as cool as possible. We’re given backstories to them, but they’re so inconsequential I couldn’t remember any of them. They’re just meant to be good criminals who only target stealing from ‘really bad’ people.
Nevermind, Brosnan’s estranged daughter who is the one who recruits him for this job. That storyline is so forgettable it’s not even worth going into. I think through the course of the story it’s meant to patch up their relationship, even though when I first saw them together they seemed to get on rather well.
The one character that really stands out amongst the group is Nick Cannon, but not for being funny or charismatic – it’s because he’s so gratingly annoying from start to finish. He is an added detriment to this movie. He was extremely hard for me to take. Maybe fans of his will enjoy his performance and his comedic bit, but he helped make getting to the end of this movie particularly grueling for me.
At one point Cannon masquerades as some kind of public health inspector and plays his part as some kind of flamboyant European man. It’s about as funny as it sounds.
Even when he gets more than enough screen time and you’re hoping we can now focus on someone else for awhile, he pops up continually to provide narration to the story. And he becomes increasingly tedious to listen to and doesn’t offer any kind of insight into what we’re watching transpiring onscreen. It’s a pretty strange device that adds nothing other than more annoyance to the film.
The actual heist, which usually you’d think would be the centerpiece and draw to watching a heist film. There’s that satisfying discovery of seeing the crooks three steps ahead of the bad guys and surprises popping up along the way. We got a bunch of crooks trying to break in and then out of a prison with a crate of gold! That sounds exciting. Here, it’s all rather routine, dull and gets so convoluted you’re not given an opportunity to enjoy any of it or applaud how these criminals overcame an impossible task.
It’s shocking how there’s not a lick of tension or suspense in this movie.
There’s no real style or setup to the double-crossing or surprises. The twists just happen in the most mundane convenient and sometimes random ways. You’re given no reason to react to any of it.
At one point, when they finally get around to stealing the gold it starts to feel less and less like a thrilling climax. It’s really strange. Tim Roth is the main bad guy. He’s the guy who’s responsible for protecting the gold for his terrorit bosses. He sees the gold has gone missing and he behaves so incredibly blasé about what’s unfolding it dilutes any excitement or tension that’s meant to be building.
He doesn’t act smart or threatening or really dastardly. He doesn’t call on his goons to do anything. You don’t feel like if the Misfits fall into his hands they’ll be in any real danger. He’s such an incredibly ineffective villain in the film they might as well not have had him.
Brosnan, what can you say. He’s in his late 60’s now and he probably relished playing the role of a sophisticated, handsome master thief. Heck, he’s the lead and the big draw for the film, so it was an opportunity he probably felt he couldn’t pass up.
Maybe he thought it would capture some of his Thomas Crown magic or The Misfits would be a late career hit and a highlight heist film for him, like Entrapment was for Sean Connery. Alas, it isn’t. He doesn’t come off too bad though. The main thing I kept thinking to myself while watching this was he shouldn’t have wasted his time with this and spent his time on a different project.
What’s more confusing is The Misfits was directed by Renny Harlin. At one point, Harlin was an extremely effective action director (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, heck I’d even toss in Cutthroat Island and Deep Blue Sea). Here, I would have never suspected it was directed by a veteran action director.
Ok, the script stinks, but there’s not even one exciting action scene that takes place. Give us a chase scene or a suspenseful scene as the crew sneaks through some ducts to get to the room filled with gold. Nothing! All there is are quick-cutting to backstories with lousy music that are meant to be further reinforce the cool factor, but muddy the waters even further.
We get Jamie Chung beating up a roomful of baddies in a scene that is shamelessly ripped off from a scene in The Avengers when Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow did the same exact thing. The topper is after poisoning the prison food as a needed distraction, we watch prisoners endlessly puke all over the place. Seriously, it goes on and on. It becomes an out of control cartoon.
And after the job is done and these band of ‘Robin Hood’s get the gold and can do some good with it – we see nothing of that. We just watch them all sit by a swimming pool at a ritzy hotel sipping expensive drinks. Are we sure they didn’t keep the money? It’s baffling.
I guess The Misfits hoped to be a blended cocktail of Ocean’s Eleven, Fast and Furious and The Thomas Crown Affair. Maybe? Whatever it wanted to be it ends up being a real stinker of movie. The trailer might look appealing and entice you to take a chance with it, but there’s nothing here. Do not waste your time.