Thursday, June 01, 2017

Despite Its Star Power, 'Life' Is No Standout

When it was first released, there were rumors that Life could have been a secret prequel to Sony’s planned Venom movie.  It isn’t.  But it’s a shame it’s not coz it totally can work as such in the context of a re-imagined, non-MCU-related, non-Spidey-related, standalone Venom movie, as what Sony is supposedly envisioning.  And if it had been so, it would have upped Split in being a solid movie on its own while having the shocking, mindblowing reveal that it’s actually connected to another movie.

Life features an all-star cast of Jake Gyllenhaal (one of the best working young actors today), Rebecca Fergusson (the badass lady from Rogue Nation), Ryan Reynolds (freakin’ Deadpool himself), Hiroyuki Sanada (probably the most recognizable Japanese actor in Hollywood today), Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya.  They portray astronauts in the International Space Station studying a Martian specimen containing evidence of extraterrestrial life.  As their research progresses, they soon discover a disturbing truth: it’s intelligent, highly dangerous, and out to murder everyone.  Now, trapped in space with this terrifying, rapidly evolving Martian life-form, the astronauts have to fight for survival as well as figure out a way of preventing it from getting into Earth.
With all the Alien movies around, Life offers no real surprises.  It’s well-acted and well-directed enough to bring ample thrills.  But the narrative flow is pretty conventional, to the point that I nearly predicted who would die in perfect order.  Even its attempt of a surprise ending is easily seen coming a mile away.  Writing could have used some more work.

Life is a solid science fiction horror film.  Still, with the star power it has, it should have been one of the biggest movies of the year.  I was hoping for something more.  Overall, it offers nothing of remarkable value as a movie about “a killer alien on the loose in a confined space while in space.”

But, again, if it had been bold and creative to have the plot twist of revealing it was actually a surprise Venom prequel, Life would have been a tremendous standout.

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