The cast in general saves it and it was pretty fun overall. Nothing groundbreaking but I’m surprised at how unkind the reviews were now.
I’m excited that Netflix has already green-lighted a sequel, because I’d love to see this same cast of folks and setting but not written by Max Landis. As the film’s one weakness is that any time any racial politics are brought up in the movie it becomes super clear that it was written by a young rich white guy. Also while writing this and seeing all of the accusations Max Landis has received over the past day, I of course hope he never works again.
The movie’s very similar to Shadowrun, but a lot of things in the movie make it seem like it began life as an attempt at an official film instead of just being a ripoff. It feels like a really specific point in that game’s setting where history was our normal history, then crazy shit reawakened, and thing are kinda sorta slowly going back to “normal.” The way the magic worked felt really reminiscent too wherein in Shadowrun only 5% of the entire world’s population is able to do magic stuff at all, and for a lot of folks if you don’t have access to a group of people or a space to train or whatever doing any of that is less something you learn and more something you experiment with a ton until you figure out how to not blow up everything you try to do magic at.
It’s a big part of the cynicism (and absurdity) of Shadowrun though that all of this crazy shit went down and, buddy I got to get to work I got mouths to feed shut up with all this dragon shit. They nailed that for sure and the lack of cyberpunk elements kind of helps the film in that respect.
The disjointed bits reminded me of my own Shadowrun games that I’ve run but not necessarily in a good way. Like hey life happens so we don’t get to play for a while, or someone can’t make it so their character isn’t around during a pivotal moment, the players weren’t having fun with a particular plot thread so they end up going off to do something totally different. The action scene in the convenience store was the exact kind of clusterfuck combat scenario you’d get in the game too.
Upon further reading it seems the script was completely rewritten from the ground up at one point, so I guess that explains that, there’s one particular thread and character that’s built up a lot in the first act of the movie that…just sort of vanishes.
I’m glad Max Landis’ career is hopefully, finally, at least, toast now.
I am surprised to see some reviews calling this the worst film of 2017 though, this isn’t even the worst film of 2017 in its own genre (CHiPS came out earlier this year and is embarrassing). Anyway it’s a mediocrely written movie good world building and the cast completely carries and saves it.