The end of summer—that miserable time when Hollywood runs out of interesting tent pole movies and starts farting garbage out of its fat ass.
Case in point: The November Man, a truly awful movie with Pierce Brosnan headlining. This movie gets a big theatrical release while being the sort of thing most TV executives would look at and say, “Hey, ya know what? I don’t want to air that rote piece of shit, even if it does have the former James Bond guy in it. It’s not good enough for TV, let alone theaters. Let’s just rerun The Wizard of Oz or America’s Got Talent again. Now … blow me!”
Brosnan stars as Devereaux, a former CIA guy who winds up in places like Russia shooting people like nobody’s business and getting himself mixed up in their politics. For starters, there’s no way any American would get away with the crazy crap this guy does in this film. He’d get squashed like a bug the second he stepped out of his hotel room.
The film is rife with spy movie clichés. Devereaux has a wife and child who create “complications,” he has a former trainee he shepherded (Luke Bracey) on his trail, along with a couple of CIA heads of questionable character (Will Patton and Bill Smitrovich) messing with him. Yes, there is also the mysterious damsel in distress (Olga Kurylenko) that Devereaux must protect while dealing with his own serious drinking problem.
It’s your basic “Who’s the real bad guy?” film, with everybody doing something relatively nasty at one time or another to keep things confusing. Brosnan’s character offs a lot of people, and even cuts an innocent woman’s femoral artery to make a dramatic point.
Incidentally, that woman’s sole purpose is to provide the movie with a sex scene for Bracey. She shows up, gets naked, and then gets the femoral artery severed. Then she goes bye-bye. The way the screenwriters get her character into bed with Bracey is that her cat always winds up in his apartment. Being that his apartment’s door is always closed, her cat always getting in there is the result of some serious stalker behavior that the movie never really addresses.
Bracey never says, “Say, your cat is always in my apartment, which means you had to open my door and put it there, unless your cat is a ghost cat that can pass through doors, which would be disturbing. I’m in the CIA, so I’m going to shoot you now because you are a freak, and I’m allergic to cats. Time to disappear!” She’s hot, so she gets away with it.
Devereaux and company blow things up like crazy, shoot each other in the streets of Moscow and Belgrade, with no interruption from local authorities. This stuff is going down in public, and nobody with a Russian accent shows up and says, “This nonsense stops now. Go home imperialist pigs. Go home to your Sylvester Stallones, fancy mini phones and diet colas!” Nope, just a bunch of Americans having their way in territories that would surely skin them alive for their behavior.
Director Roger Donaldson has had a strange career. The man should’ve been banned from anything to do with movies for making Cocktail back in 1988, and yet he continues to get work. He’s actually responsible for another suck-ass Brosnan flick, the miserable volcano epic Dante’s Peak. Somewhere in the midst of turning out all this crap, he also managed to make the very good The World’s Fastest Indian and Thirteen Days, so go figure.
You would think that with the resources given to them, the Hollywood movie machine would be able to give us at least one quality film per week for an option at theaters. Nope, the well has already run dry this summer, and we will probably have to wait it out until October to see something really good.