DIRECTED BY: Olivier Megaton
STARRING: Édgar Ramírez, Anna Brewster, Michael Pitt, Sharlto Copley, Sean Cameron Michael, Alonso Grandio, Brandon Auret and Mohammad Tiregar
Adapted from Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini’s graphic novel of the same name, The Last Days of American Crime is set in the near future where the world has descended into chaos, with terrorism and crime levels at an all-time high, leading to the United States government set to unleash the American Peace Initiative: a nationwide broadcast that will act as a crime blocker, short-circuiting the human brain whenever someone is doing something illegal. With less than a week before the API goes live, career criminal Graham Bricke is persuaded to team up with Kevin Cash, the son of crime boss Rossi Dumois, and black market hacker Shelby Dupree, to commit the heist of the history and the last crime in American history before the signal goes live.
The film is adapted by Oblivion and The November Man screenwriter Karl Gadjusek, and is directed by Olivier Megaton, who previously directed Transporter 3, Colombiana and the Taken sequels. In terms of concept, for which there are more questions than there ever should be for it (aren’t all criminals sociopaths so therefore the signal would deem to be completely useless against them and if you were attempt to stop said sociopath, would your act then be considered ‘bad’ in the way of the signal that it will neuter you from stopping them?), it at least adds a flavour to the one-last-score cliche and unfortunately, the concept is treated as a gimmick and never really comes into play in the final act, after the exposition opening detailing its purpose.
The worst thing this film could do, given the concept and purpose, is take itself too seriously and unfortunately, that’s what it does to the point that it makes the characters, and the world for that matter, appear lifeless. It doesn’t help that it juggles multiple sub-plots, from Bricke’s opening deed coming back to haunt him, we have an FBI informant in are midst, Bricke’s brother committed suicide in prison or was he murdered, the love triangle between Bricke-Shelby-Kevin, and a cop is looking to go out on the streets in their final night on the job. What makes it all the more painful is that the film believes that it needs a two hour and thirty minute (minus a minute) runtime to tell this story and what it results in doing is having the film move at a snails pace, and for a supposed action-thriller, that’s the biggest crime of all. The fact that the film could easily, easily trim an hour off it might help it slightly in terms of upping the pace at least. For a director known for his action/editorial cuts (Liam Neeson vs the fence in Taken 3), I’m actually surprised considering the runtime just how little action there is and when it does appear on screen, it’s just flairless. There’s a car chase sequence in the middle of the film and I was stunned at the fact that there was about a hundred and thirty cuts within this two-minute sequence, it was absolutely jarring and completely unnecessary.
Unfortunately with the material that they’re given, the ensemble doesn’t really get to shine. Michael Pitt at the least tries to infuse his character of gangster Kevin Cash with some bravado but when he’s going up high, Édgar Ramírez has to play this one-note brooding walking cliche of a protagonist, and the balance is just uneven and Anna Brewster is just made to read the femme fatale 101 checklist, but like I said, nobody comes out looking well from this except for Sharlto Copley, who plays the cop with his own sub-plot and the only reason he comes out looking well is because he’s barely in it! He appears in the first half hour-forty minutes with some scenes and then he disappears for a long period of time to the point when he does pop up again, you forgot his character exist and even worse, his entire arc could easily been taken out.
No one sets out to make a bad film, but The Last Days of American Crime is devoid of anything for me to lack onto here. Just a bad day at the office for all involved.