Brian Goodman’s “Last Seen Alive” is the cinematic equivalent of a filmmaker spitting in the face of moviegoers. It would be a travesty if the whole film wasn’t such a waste of time.
A tired action movie plot is laid out with no ideas or originality, borrowing from better (and worse!) films, tricking audiences into thinking they will have a good time.
Gerard Butler is Will and he is going through a divorce with his wife Lisa (Jaimie Alexander). Hubby is taking his soon to be ex-wife to her parent’s house to have time away from one another.
The crumbling couple stops for gas and Lisa is kidnapped. The rest of the film is one desperate husband’s frantic search for his wife.
The screenplay from Marc Frydman is chock full of tired and worn-out clichés that come at you a mile a minute. An audience familiar with action film cliches will be able to write this as it goes along, figuring out every character’s action before it happens.
After discovering Lisa was taken, “everyman” Will bolts into action. While the police conduct their slow-moving investigation in the crucial hours after her disappearance, Will turns sleuth, pursuing his own leads and drawing into the criminal underworld.
The film is nonstop and relentless but not in the way a film should be. Around every corner is another groan-inducing “been there, done that” sequence.
Director Goodman thinks that almost constant shaky cam and a hurried style passes for excitement. A third of the way into this mess we realize it most certainly doesn’t not.
The filmmaker tries to distract from his 95 minutes of nothingness by bouncing around the timeline, showing us flashbacks of the crumbling of Will and Lisa’s union. This attempt at giving his characters dramatic weight fails completely.
Lisa is written as a selfish woman who has cheated on her husband, giving the audience no emotional pull to her character beyond her being a kidnapping victim. Alexander plays Lisa with so stern a demeanor that her performance is rendered one note and dull.
Gerard Butler plays Will as he has in every other action role. If you have seen the actor’s work in films such as “Olympus Has Fallen,” “Den of Thieves,” and “Greenland,” you have experienced his performance here. Butler has been good in a few recent efforts, but he never changes his acting style and is mostly one-note.
This is yet another big Hollywood action film (in an ever-growing line) that shows nothing but contempt for the audience.
The filmmakers don’t care that the plot is overly familiar and how stale it all might seem. Director Goodman and screenwriter Frydman couldn’t be bothered with making the material fresh. It is assumed that if they simply throw in a big star (Butler), the audience will show up.
Everything in this film, from the cinematography to the editing to Sam Ewing’s pedestrian score, is much too familiar, sending the film into the graveyard of the uninspired.
What a sad disrespect for moviegoers.
With “Last Seen Alive,” it is the spark of originality that has been kidnapped.