"Infinite" stars Mark Wahlberg, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sophie Cookson, Jason Mantzoukas, Rupert Friend, Toby Jones, and Dylan O'Brien. Released on Paramount+ on June 10, 2021, the film has a man discovering that his visions are memories of his past lives.
The film was directed by Antoine Fuqua, who also directed films such as "Training Day", "Shooter", "Olympus Has Fallen", and "The Equalizer". It is based on the book The Reincarnationist Papers by D. Eric Maikranz. It's not summer vacation without a dose of action in our lives. The pandemic is nearing its end, and the weather is sunny and humid, which means that the summer movie season is officially back! It is so great to finally be able to see the delayed blockbusters on the big screen after waiting almost an entire year for them. So how about we celebrate this occasion with an original action film from Paramount+? What? Were you expecting me to review a big-budget action blockbuster made for the big screen? Don't worry. I'll get to that soon. This latest action film from Antoine Fuqua was initially set for a theatrical release last year, but the pandemic caused it to be delayed to next year. Eventually, Paramount decided to cancel its theatrical strategy and have it released on Paramount+ instead. I guess that's one way for the streaming service to keep itself relevant after its title change back in March. Whether they made the right call or not will depend on how the film turns out. With that in mind, let's see if this Mark Wahlberg-led thrill ride can kickstart the season on the right note.
The story centers on Evan McCauley (Wahlberg), a man whose daily life is spiraling out of control. He's been constantly having visions of places he's never been before and possessing skills he's never learned. Evan is then approached by a secret group of unique people known as "Infinites". The Infinites can reincarnate with the memories and knowledge from their past lives to use for their current ones, and Evan, believe it or not, happens to be one of them. When humanity is threatened by Bathurst (Ejiofor), a former Infinite who seeks to end this eternal cycle by eradicating all life, Evan will have to join forces with the group to unlock the secrets of his past and save the world. "Infinite" features a concept that took a sci-fi approach towards the topic of reincarnation, which could provide some intrigue in its world-building, themes, and characters, if done correctly, of course. Unfortunately for me, the film failed to take advantage of this strategy in favor of a dull and poorly-written action thriller that immediately wastes the talents of its cast and director. After an admittedly enjoyable opening sequence, the story quickly started to lose track of what it's supposed to do next and began planting elements from the other sci-fi films to keep itself going instead of creating an engaging plot. Not only that, but it also featured one-dimensional characters that lacked emotion and urgency, as well as a script that's both corny and nonsensical. The film also had some pacing issues that felt like some other vital scenes are left on the cutting room floor. It's like they're trying to keep its viewers entertained with its CGI-infused sequences and action-packed stunts rather than combining them with a coherent story. Antoine Fuqua is usually known for his realistic direction in genres like action, crime, and thriller. So seeing him tackle a film that combines action and sci-fi is something that could be either interesting or off-putting. As it turns out, it wound up being the latter. Fuqua's direction in the film looked like it could've been directed by someone else in my eyes. It didn't match Fuqua's style in his past movies regarding the energy and the gritty style. The performances from the cast didn't help that much either, especially Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg has been all over the place when it comes to his action-packed roles. Some of his films were highly enjoyable, in my opinion, like "Deepwater Horizon" and "Patriots Day". Others like "Mile 22" and "Spenser Confidential" weren't as explosive as I thought they would be. His role in "Infinite" is a perfect example of the latter. As much as I like Wahlberg, I have to say that he delivered the worst performance of his career so far. His role as Evan was as bland and soulless as an A.I. robot with a malfunctioning emotion chip. Even his delivery on the dialogue was pretty dull to hear. You can easily say that his performance was as wooden as a…piece of wood. I got nothing. Sophie Cookson and Jason Mantzoukas also turned in some okay performances as Nora Brightman and Artisan, respectively. Chiwetel Ejiofor, on the other hand, was honestly the most tolerable as Bathurst. He was undoubtedly a by-the-numbers villain, but man, Ejiofor knew how to make his performance as amusingly hokey as his character. The only thing that I liked from the movie was the action scenes, which took something out of the likes of "Mission: Impossible" and "The Matrix" and mashed them together to create some tasty eye candy. They're far from memorable, and the editing can be a bit of an eyesore, but they're suitable enough to provide some tiny bits of entertainment. The opening sequence was the most enjoyable part, in my opinion, due to the stunts and the direction. It's too bad that the rest of the film wasn't able to follow suit.
Overall, "Infinite" showcases an endless cycle that's filled with dullness and incoherence. Aside from its action sequences, this is a poor reincarnated man's imitation of the better-received sci-fi action films that came before it. With its mediocre cast, weak direction, rushed pacing, and bland characters, the film marks a significant low point for both Mark Wahlberg and Antoine Fuqua. On the other hand, it makes me glad that the studio decided to release it on Paramount+ instead of putting it on the big screen. I mean, could you imagine how much money they would lose if they kept its theatrical strategy? Anyway, if you're still curious about watching it despite my review, I can at least say it's worth watching once for the action and nothing else. Now let's get out of this never-ending loop so we can continue our action-packed summer movie season.