johnlink ranks THE DOUBLE (2011)

Straight-to-DVD is not always a horrendous thing. Still, it can’t be good when a movie starring Richard Gere, Topher Grace, Martin Sheen, Vampire Bill, and Stana Katic (of Castle fame) never even crosses your radar in the two years it has been out. But, well, I’m a sucker for spy movies and assassin stories and the ilk, so this seemed worth giving a chance.


I watched THE DOUBLE (2011) on 6.1.13. It was my first viewing of the film.

The Cassius 7 are a group of hitmen from Russia. Paul Shepherdson (Gere) made a career out of eliminating them in the 80s, only he never caught the ringleader: Cassius himself. Present day, and a Senator is murdered in a way which is reminiscent of the old Cassius hits. A young analyst, Ben Geary (Grace) believes the old man has come out of retirement. As a result, the CIA and FBI pull Paul out of retirement (reluctantly) to help get him. Shooting, choking, chasing ensue.

This movie has two weak attempts at stunt casting. Stephen Moyer (Bill from True Blood) has little to do as a surprisingly living member of the Cassius 7. Stana Katic gets even less to do as a Russian hooker. I’m not sure she says more than four lines. Both are brought in to tap into rapid fan bases, and neither really get to do anything (not that it is their fault).

On the other hand, Odette Annable, as Ben’s wife, gives a nice performance, even if she is partly cast because of her TV following from House. I was also pleasantly surprised by the work of Gere and Grace. Ben is in awe of Paul, and Paul has little time for Ben until he meets his nice young family. The entire relationship develops the way you would want it to, and there was some decent work done. Further, anything with Gere and Martin Sheen was a joy to watch too, even if there was precious little of it.

This is one of those movies where I thought I had it all figured out, and then the first act twist proved me right. Heck, the surprise might be on the back of the DVD box, but I hope not because it is well handled. Once we get this formality out of the way, the movie gets a chance to get on its horse and run a bit. It looses a shoe near the end with a final unnecessary twist, but is otherwise successful.

Ultimately, we are left with the question of who we should be rooting for and why. This movie isn’t pro-America to be sure, though I don’t think there was any intent there. The plot gets too convoluted in the end to have a happy ending, yet we are forced into one anyway. The movie is afraid to be bold, instead it settles in as a PG-13 thriller which has been sanitized for our protection. And it ultimately cannot fully succeed because of it.

I was entertained enough by this. It was a serviceable thriller until the last scene. Gere gets to play a character he normally doesn’t get to dive into. Grace is better than I anticipated. I can’t say to avoid this, because it isn’t all that bad. Just be ready to have a spell of disappointment when the end can’t live up the modest level the rest of the movie sets up.





~ by johnlink00 on June 2, 2013.

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