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  • Writer's pictureS.K. Chishty


Fuqua goes for 'The Matrix' but delivers 'Jupiter Ascending'.

Infinite's casually tossed flimsy opening exposition tells us that the Infinites are a small group of people with the ability to remember all their past lives. This group is divided into two. One is the Believers who, well, believe and the others are Nihilists, who - drumrolls - don't believe. Seems like James Cameron's "Unobtanium" has proved an inspiration here.

This would not be surprising because this film rips off many. Right from 'The Matrix' to Jason Bourne films to even 'Inception'. As if that would ensure that its place as the next big sci-fi thing. While the producers might have such hope, Antione Fuqua just doesn't seem to care for the material, at all. His direction is listless, at best.

Of the films mentioned above the one that it most obviously is trying to crib is 'The Matrix'. Like Neo, Evan McCauley (Mark Whalberg) lives a double life. We first see him recovering from an intense nightmare (though, you wouldn't know looking at his face).

He seeks acceptance in the world by applying for a job but his aggressive past proves a detriment in the interview. For he suffers from nightmares and visions of different eras and mysteriously knows many languages and skills. He has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic and has trouble fitting in the society.

Like Neo, he also specializes in illegal trades by night. Here, he forges a sword to sell to a local punk gangster in return for the only drugs that work on his psychotic condition. When the drugs-sword transaction goes wrong, Evan finds himself captured by an evil Nihilist leader called Bathurst (Chiwetel Ejiofor, the only guy having some fun here - maybe a bit too much of it). He is rescued at the last moment by Mora Brightman and taken to someplace where they recognize him as a reincarnation of Treadway (Dylan O'Brien). Cue Whalberg's training as a ninja fighter etc. Except it doesn't make much sense here as his character has already been established as someone having such gifts.

Apparently, he remembers all these skills from his previous lives. That opens a Pandora's Box of questions, most nagging of which is that how come he led an extraordinary life each time he was reincarnated? The film also borrows the concept of re-birth from Hinduism (among others) and conveniently leaves things like 'Karma' on the floor. A concept that goes hand-in-hand with re-birth.

All this is extremely silly but could have still been fun if Fuqua was interested beyond calling the shots. Part of the problem here is, of course, Whalberg himself. While Reeves is capable of depicting some vulnerability, Whalberg can barely express anything. At this juncture, in an action film, clarity of motivation is helpful but his acting rouses unnecessary doubts as to if he really suffers from amnesia or he is just pretending to. The actor is not incapable of charm but here, like in his worst films, he looks confused, at best.

Infinite is a regurgitation of many other, better films. Films that you would be better off watching.

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