ST. LOUIS — Don't even think about seeing this movie. Peter Parker fans can turn the cheek. Young "Star Wars" fans should bypass this one. Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley sleepwalk through a Doug Liman film that moves as slow as a misbegotten 109-minute film possibly can.
"Chaos Walking" wasn't promoted much before release, which only heightens the likelihood of a bomb. In entertainment land, a global pandemic only means the advertising gets increased. I've seen enough trailers for "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" in order to suit up and join the team, and that was after Elizabeth Olsen broke my heart on a weekly basis. Pardon me if I am Marvel-blasting my way through this movie review, but I really want to know who kidnapped Holland's charisma?
This is the first Holland role where I got a heavy whiff of paycheck cashing from the 24-year-old superstar, who just looks confused the whole time here. As he will inform you of at least twenty times in the first 15 minutes, his character's name is Todd. On a planet where "The Noise" took the women away and put all the men's thoughts on public display, Todd finds it hard to discover his soulmate while chasing down Chris Hemsworth and Matthew McConaughey for shirtless shots inside a single role. His youthful roughneck version of Indiana Diet Jones is the first one to see Ridley's crashed planet invader, and they become a team as the world's true origins come to light. Or something like that.
I didn't fall asleep once during this movie, but man a nap sure sounded good. I would have happily holstered my weapon and skipped this review. But since I made it to the end, you will hear my thoughts, in written form thankfully.
"Chaos Walking" isn't a good movie. It's a bad one. The concept is ingenious, but the execution misses everywhere here. Liman's stamp for blending charisma and an action adventure is completely absent. Did he pick this script up at a yard sale? Patrick Ness adapted his own book with Christopher Ford, and the whole thing is a mess. If there was ever a movie born for a "Drunk History" mock edition, this movie would be it. Mads Mikkelsen recycles a few of his villain role traits to play the seemingly corrupt Mayor, who probably knows what happened to Todd's mom and all the other women in town.
I am spoiling some of this for you in order to save you time and money. Holland has five other movies made and five others in production that will be better than this. I always found Ridley's Rey to be underwritten, something that made the latest fleet of "Star Wars" films disappointing on the whole. Here, she's given even less to work with, playing a damsel in distress on the run who forms zero chemistry with her co-star. They look like two actors walking across a soundstage. Sharing big budget film horror stories would have turned this film into a guilty pleasure.
But everyone, including Demian Bichir's overly noble father and David Oyelowo's wicked preacher, are so serious. It's all grim and mum, which means no fun. Cynthia Ervelo and Ray McKinnon somehow made their way into this thing. Nick Jonas tries to play the crazy son and doesn't succeed. I liked him better as a talented yet doomed MMA fighter.
Oftentimes, a film isn't promoted or talked about that often because the studio is trying to let out a far without anyone noticing. Well, Lionsgate, I heard and smelled this one. Whew! Change your pants. "Chaos Walking" bought a nice cast with their borrowed themes and tropes, but it didn't have any effect.
Ladies and gentlemen, I saw this so you wouldn't have to. You're welcome.