A lazy affair that lacks any charm to compensate for its by-the-numbers material
No doubt hoping to be something of a pull for the Paramount+ streaming service as its first major picture offer, Infinite is an insultingly by-the-numbers actioner that feels completely on brand as a “made for streaming” title - even though it was intended for the cinema. Antoine Fuqua knows how to navigate an action movie, but there’s such an obvious disconnect between himself and the material here, resulting in a lazy, could’ve-been-inventive affair that lacks any charm to compensate for the by-the-numbers material.
The Antoine Fuqua who directed Training Day, The Equalizer, and Southpaw is nowhere to be found here. Hell, even the Fuqua behind the likes of Shooter and Olympus Has Fallen didn’t even show up for the party, instead phoning in standard action practice, unable to illicit invested performers from his usually capable cast. Though perhaps the largest effect-driven film he’s worked on, there’s no excuse in not being able to at least utilise his abilities to work on the story and performances outside of the special effects.
A decent action movie can absolutely be born from what Todd Stein’s story treatment provides. The idea that a group, the “Infinites” of the title, are gifted with the ability to be reborn and take advantage of their knowledge from their centuries of existence is something that feels almost like a narrative the Marvel brand would excel at framing. An “everyday” man learning he’s an Infinite himself to stop a madman from putting an end on all life as we know it is about as predictable as it gets, and there’s no shame in predictability, it’s just unfortunate that Fuqua and co. can’t let the film rise above itself.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Mark Wahlberg’s always been something of a hit-and-miss performer, and even though the action genre has served him well, Infinite does not. With narration that proves its not at all his strong suit, completely inorganic dialogue - even in the context of the outlandish plot - and a delivery that feels more in tune with a comedy (seriously, this film feels like a parody), Wahlberg feels like an unseasoned performer. Not helping himself either is Chiwitel Ejiofor. As the film’s villain he’s hamming it up in a cartoonish fashion, but he’s doing so in a manner that feels more just like an eccentric for the sake of it, and not at all like a genuine personality. And Sophie Cookson clearly thinks her attractive aesthetic will let her by as her American(?) accent only hurts her wooden performance further, resulting in an usually embarrassing state of talent unable to overcome their trite dialogue.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Though the CGI is incredibly obvious, there’s still some enjoyable visuals on hand pertaining to the Infinites' habitat. Some action sequences feel overdone on generated effects, whilst a few combative sequences indicate there was evident hard work put in beyond just computer trickery.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Almost insultingly stereotypical, the music on board plays further into the parody mind frame. Are you thinking you’ll hear some type of native chant when the images on screen show us an island-like paradise? Correct!
The idea behind Infinite lends itself to standard action fare, but someone like Fuqua seems like the capable type to make something out of nothing. Everything on hand here feels lazy. An uninspired script, unhinged performances, and a genuine lack of investment.
INFINITE is Now Streaming on PARAMOUNT+