Margot Robbie was the only good thing that happened in Suicide Squad, so it’s just a matter of time before she gets cast to play a different version of Harley Quinn.
She does it well enough in Terminal. A world reminiscent of the much superior Kontroll, it combines huge set pieces in Hungarian locations, neon-lighting and 70’s aesthetic to create a neo-noir that attempts to marry Alice in Wonderland and Sin City.
Unfortunately Terminal fails in doing so, picking all trademark elements from its genre but doing nothing interesting with it.
The movie has everything that you would expect in a neo-noir – a femme fatale, hitmen, and a shady mastermind all operating in a landscape of high contrast lighting and film settings that never see the light of day. As par for the course, there’s sadistic violence, cold-blooded murder, tediously given clues, and a “job”.
The script never manages to elevate any of these elements past generic. So you have a textbook female psychopath, a young gun with a cock for brains, a grumpy old veteran whose tired of everybody’s shit, a mastermind with a disguise, telegraphed schemes (detailed later in an exposition dump), and a contrived plot twist (guess who’s the real mastermind!!).
It doesn’t help that the splintered timeline offers different narratives all desperately interwoven into a revenge story. Apart from being a collection of cliches Terminal is also a series of playlets stitched together to form a stylish but chintzy predictable picture.
This is Mike Meyers’s first film after seven years. While he doesn’t seem like he’s phoning it in for a paycheck gig, he looked bored in the villain-monologuing-the-exposition scene while Robbie prattles on about the big reveal and does her deranged girl shtick. I don’t blame him because the rest of the cast are also nothing more than caricatures. Max Irons is already bland, so he barely registers.
In the end, Annie walks off into the night in what looks like a warehouse that’s as empty as the movie.
It doesn’t work either way – too disjointed for escapism and too generic as a stylish neo-noir with a talented cast.
Terminal is a self-indulgent, shallow and forgettable crime movie pastiche no thanks to a Frankensteinian script of neo-noir cliches and caricatures.