136 minutes, opens March 17
It’s another sunny morning in Los Angeles. Somewhere a bank robbery is happening, but it’s hard to see as the camera flies through the air and lens flare blocks everything else.
It must be in the world of Michael Bay, a magical place where every surface – especially whether it’s a sweaty male brow or a shiny piece of paramilitary kit – is kissed by a golden ray of the sunset, even though it’s 9am.
To be fair, director Bay (crime thriller Bad Boys, 1995; the sci-fi franchise Transformers, 2007-2017) seems to have learned to reduce his propensity to make every scene look like a truck commercial aimed at insecure men.
Best of all, there’s no comedy, so audiences are spared Bay’s humor (think Autobot rapping) or the gaudy train wreck that was Bay 6 Underground’s Netflix action thriller (2019). ).
The plot, like other Bay films, is based on the idea that military veterans, such as William Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), are hyper-capable all-rounders. According to this calculation, Singapore must be full of superheroes.
Abandoned by America’s health care system, which leaves his wife to die for lack of expensive surgery, Sharp turns to his adopted brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal), an inveterate bank robber, for help. Danny talks to the ex-soldier about joining his crew.
The heist goes awry, forcing the siblings to flee in an ambulance, with paramedic Thompson (Eiza Gonzalez) and a bloodied police officer as hostages.
This adaptation of a low-budget Danish work from 2005 is beautiful – it adds material (police car chases and helicopters) and action (gunshots and vehicle crashes).
But he seems to have forgotten to bring tension and suspense. Despite having two ticking clocks – an impending capture and a dying cop in the back – this vehicle can’t run its “sporadically entertaining” speedometer.