- Movie Rating -

Agent Game (2022)

| April 8, 2022

As a matter of personal policy, I make it a rule never to drag an actor’s personal issues into their latest work.  Yet, I shamefully admit that I found myself involuntarily (and admittedly humorously) wincing during the pre-credit sequence of Agent Game in which Mel Gibson tells his unseen radio cohort: “We may have a problem.”

Given the souring of Gibson’s image, I found it nearly impossible not to weigh his words with any degree of detachment to his personal problems.  When, twenty minutes into Agent Game, he wordily gives the business to a steely female agent (“Supernatural”‘s Katie Cassidy), the words “sugar-tits” hung heavy in the air.

But, okay.  I’m not being fair.  My job is not to give an assessment of the actor’s issues, but of his latest work.  How is the movie?  How does Agent Game work as an entertainment.  Quick reaction: Yeah, it’s alright I guess.  It’s a slick but woefully confusing spy thriller that seems to have been conceived after a marathon of “24” and “Homeland” and perhaps too many hours in the company of “Splinter Cell.”  It is jumbled as a whole, but works well in certain individual scenes.  The action doesn’t work and the narrative is a mess.  Too often screenwriters Tyler Konney and Mike Langer allow themselves to fall into that “Three Weeks Earlier” nonsense, a device discounted by even the most undiscriminating viewer and derided even by a particularly clever episode of “Rick and Morty.”  These guys ought to know better.

The jumbled timelines may work for a series on Netflix but they’re awfully frustrating for your average viewer.  We move back and forth in time, often without notation so often that things seem to happen at random.  You’re expected to remember what happened “Five Weeks Earlier” and “Three Weeks Ago,” not to mention what is actually suppose to be happening right now in the present.  I’m giving myself a headache just trying to explain that.  In spite of my head, I’ll try to give you a rundown.

Two previous timelines are presented – one took place five weeks ago and the other three weeks ago.  Both are concerned with a mission that is headed for disaster.  We know this because the movie opens with several members of the team being wiped out by an unknown assailant (if you can’t figure out who it is, you need your eyes checked).  The team – five weeks ago – included Kavinsky (Adan Canto), Miller (Cassidy) and Reese (Rhys Coiro).  They executed the extraction of a foreign diplomat named Omar (Barkhad “I’m the Captain Now” Abdi) who runs a charitable organization that has been too friendly with some men who are suspected to be using the charity as a front for a terrorist organization.

Meanwhile, a man named Harris (Dermot Mulroney) questions the detention of Omar while in the present story Kavinsky wonders if there isn’t something fishy happening with Harris who has been detained.  Meanwhile, the movie cuts back to an agent named Olson (Gibson) who via a third timeline (I think) interviews the people who will form the team.  The movie opens far later with Olson sitting on a bench before standing up and shooting at several somethings before making that phone called to inform the party on the other end that “We may have a problem.”

If all of this sounds confusing, it may be because it actually is.  The movie is never as clever as Konney and Langer would like you to think.  It is actually kind of a small movie that is overplayed and half-baked even by the standards of the “extraction team” aesthetic.  Its attempts to get into geopolitics are null and void and so too is anything of common cinematic language.  This is a supremely confused movie with some good scenes and some very good actors.  As for Gibson, I’ll just say that his presence in this movie was a little creepy.  He looks haggard and tired and you sense his real-life issues hanging over the film.  If he ever gets himself out of his Cancel Culture incarceration, I hope that he can find his way back to far better films than this.



About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2022) View IMDB Filed in: Action, Thriller