IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN INFINITE, THIS IS A NON-SPOILER REVIEW.
When Paramount announced that instead of releasing their new big-budget sci-fi action film Infinite in theaters, they would be dropping it on their streaming platform… I became worried about this project. I couldn’t fathom that they would miss out on all of the dollars to be made on this potential franchise-starter. But, now after seeing the movie, I understand why. Infinite is a joyously creative mess that the studio probably had no idea how to market. So they’ve cut their losses and are making it a streaming exclusive. Which works in Infinite’s favor, because you’re less likely to feel disappointed, if you haven’t outright paid for it.
WHAT IS INFINITE ALL ABOUT?
The film stars Mark Wahlberg as Evan Michaels, a troubled schizophrenic man who has skills he has never learned and memories of places he has never been to. A mysterious group of people who call themselves “Infinites” seek him out and explain to him that his memories are real. Except, they are from past lives that he has lived. Soon, Evan must work alongside these “Infinites” to stop one of their own (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who wants to halt the cycle of reincarnation. By exterminating the human race.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
There is so much promise in Infinite. It is brimming with complex ideas, slick shots, explosive action, trippy sci-fi elements and so much more. So, it’s hard to not look at the finished product and wonder what happened? Mark Wahlberg is a charismatic leading man, but he sometimes picks the wrong projects that don’t know how to utilize his capabilities. Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) is a talented filmmaker, but for some reason his movies tend to not be able to reach their full potential. Both of these problems come into play here.
WHAT HAPPENED IN POST-PRODUCTION?
There is a feeling that you get when watching Infinite, that there was a whole lot of footage abandoned on the cutting room floor. Characters come in and out of play that have little to no development or reason to be present. Concepts are brought up and then deserted, never to be fully fleshed out. Some scenes feel extremely rushed, while others saunter along at a snail’s pace. It all adds up to either the studio coming in to edit the film down because it was too long and convoluted. Or the screenplay never being fully developed. Either way, the version of Infinite we’ve been given, feels wholly unfinished.
DOES THE STORY HAVE ANY TIME TO BE CULTIVATED?
There’s also an issue of an overabundance of exposition that makes the film feel like a chore. There is so much world-building to be done, lore to be taught and abstract ideas to be explained that it all feels a bit overwhelming. And then, when it comes to the actual storyline to take center-stage, it feels lost and altogether meaningless. Infinite never gives us the time to actually become invested, because it spends so much of that time trying to explain to us why we should be.
DOES INFINITE HAVE ITS SAVING GRACES?
Even with all of these flaws though, I still couldn’t help, but be moderately engaged by Infinite’s plethora of sights and sounds. There is so much to take in here. Although many of the characters are completely one-note, there is an air of mystery surrounding them that makes you intrigued to learn more about them. The film is handsomely directed by Fuqua, who feels at home with his stimulating visual flourishes and visceral action set-pieces. And even though the heady ideas and concepts are muddled, they are certainly fascinating.
CAN INFINITE BE COMPARED TO ANY OTHER FILM?
Infinite feels a lot like another one of this year’s sci-fi franchise-starter-hopefuls, Chaos Walking. Both of which are equally as misguided. There is so much promise in both of these properties and you can see why they were greenlit. But, in both of their cases, during the evolution of the project from its inception to its release, it completely went off of the rails. Infinite is the definition of squandered potential. The film was full of infinite possibilities, but got lost along the way.
Infinite is Streaming Now, Exclusively on Paramount+.
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