The visuals and idea works, but both Mark Wahlberg and the story fail.
“Infinite,” Mark Wahlberg and director Antoine Fuqua’s first collaboration since “Shooter,” has been scrapped from theatrical release, and is currently streaming on the new Paramount+ service. I can see why it was scraped from release. It’s not just COVID-19, and movie theaters are back in the saddle again for the record, but one of the reasons is Wahlberg wasting his talents. He’s one of my favorite actors and I met him back in 2010, but in “Infinite,” he doesn’t act like he wants to be part of this mess, which I’m told rips off “The Old Guard” and “The Matrix.” At least, it wouldn’t be the first Wahlberg movie to fail.
It takes place in a world that combines dazzling special effects with lame effects. The bad effects come when the movie has to rely on car chases, while the colorful ones come from drawers and elevators, ones that radiate. I was dazzled when I saw some aqua glass drawers, I was bored when I saw police pursuits, and I was dazzled again when I saw a machine that literally makes your life flash before your eyes. That machine fills up with water, and allows the patient to see his past life, but drowning is the biggest risk. And then I got back to being bored again when I see one of the movie’s heroes dodging some gunmen.
And as for the story, which I’m about to explain, it transcends reincarnations into a routine Sci-Fi thriller that’s supposed to have depth, but makes very little sense. Sure you understand the concept, but you’re not reading much. In fact, you’re almost bored by it.
Wahlberg plays an NYC blacksmith named Evan McCauley, who sells his weapons to drug dealers, and is trying to figure out why he’s misunderstood. He has dreams about him having various lives, gifts, tricks, and hobbies, and he wants to know why. He gets in trouble with the police with the Japanese sword he carved himself, and ends up being interrogated by a man (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who knows he created some bullets.
Then, Evan gets saved by a young woman named Nora Brightman (Sophia Cookman) with a special kind of bulletproof car-one with retractable steering wheels. This woman, who announces her full name (“My name is Nora Brightman,” she says), tells Evan that she can take him to the people who know why he has his dreams and visions. Because, they’re both infinites-people who remember their past lives and skills. Okay, that makes sense. There are also two groups of them-those who want to end the world with a sacred object known as the Egg, and those who believe humanity must endure.
The Ejiofor character Wahlberg dealt with is one of the bad guys, who loves being waterboarded with gas and also covets the egg. He’s known as a Bathurst. And Evan’s last body was named Heinrich Treadway (Dylan O’Brien), who knows where he put the Egg. I’m not sure I’m understanding this correctly. You can kill the body of an infinite, but you can’t kill their soul. This soul transfers into another body as the centuries pass.
It’s not saying much, but the best actor in the movie is Jason Mantzoukas as a goofy scientist, who places Evan in the machine that lets him see his life. I don’t know, I mean, he does have a certain spark and energy in him that makes him fun. And this comedy actor did have a small role in “John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum.” It’s a shame I have to like a supporting character more than Wahlberg or Ejiofor, who both don’t seem to be enjoying themselves on set.
Fuqua has made some good movies in the past, but I’m glad “Infinite” isn’t playing in theaters, because what are we really missing? Guns, knives, punching, explosions, and so forth. We’ve seen them all before and we’ll see them again. Hopefully, the next action film will do a better job with them. But if not the next one, maybe the next to the next one, and so on and so on.
Streaming on Paramount+