Are you a semi-bankable action star? If so, take a look around. Are you standing amid the set of an action thriller? An action thriller from someone who clearly saw Taken, and thought to him or herself, “Yes. Yes, I must also make this movie?”
If so, there are rules in place. Obvious rules that pertain to filmmaking, yes, but then also one great overarching cultural rule. A rule that Pierce Brosnan, who’s made more than a few action pictures, should know how to follow.
When walking calmly away from a fireball, do not, under any circumstances, turn around and look at the fireball. This song exists for a reason. An entirely serious and non-silly reason.
And yet, at the 1:08 mark in the first trailer for Brosnan’s The November Man, Brosnan is clearly making eye contact with a great plume of fire. For shame. Especially when Luke Bracey, Brosnan’s spy protégé, sets off his own kaboom a few seconds earlier, and manages to avert his eyes the entire time.
At least the rivalry makes sense, because the film pits Brosnan vs Bracey in a battle of who can look at the least explosions. Brosnan is Peter Deveraux, a cutthroat spy with an official certificate to commit murder. But Deveraux is called out of retirement to protect a hapless witness (Olga Kuryenko) who definitely couldn’t be protected by a younger, more physically fit agent. Doing so puts them in the line of fire from David Mason (Bracey), the very man Deveraux trained in the ways of espionage (I guess the one thing Brosnan couldn’t teach was to avert your damn eyes when the fireball goes off).
Breaking the Cool Guys Don’t Look At Explosions rule is an ill omen, and it seems to have manifested in The November Man not looking very interesting at all. The story has been stamped from the same Liam Neeson-shaped cookie cutter that filmmakers have been passing around since 2008. The trailer is sprayed with slow-motion, but it’s the unfortunate kind, and not the super-cool, guy-jumps-through-a-stained-glass-window kind. Mostly, we’ll be looking at the same shot of a gun going off, and Brosnan making a grimace that probably should have been covered up in regular twenty-four frames per second.
Also, there’s dubstep. Is there a bigger indicator of a ready-to-age-poorly action movie than dubstep? Probably not.
The November Man opens on August 27th.