PLOT: A troubled man (Mark Wahlberg) plagued by hallucinations discovers he’s the reincarnation of an ancient warrior and belongs to a group called “INFINITEs”, who can retain memories of their past lives – but not all of them are good. An evil mastermind who belongs to a nihilist sect (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has developed a weapon that he intends to use to end the world and free himself of eternal life.
REVIEW: Infinite has to be getting one of the most unceremonious releases for a big-budget movie I’ve ever heard of. Paramount, who sold off The Tomorrow War, Coming 2 America and Without Remorse to Amazon Prime, Trial of the Chicago 7 to Netflix and gave A Quiet Place 2 a legit release (with one planned for Snake Eyes shortly) moved this – at the eleventh hour – to Paramount Plus. A nascent streamer that’s still not known for movies, one has to assume star Mark Wahlberg and director Antoine Fuqua were gobsmacked, as it looks like a lot of money was poured into this one.
That said, it’s unlikely Infinite would have been the franchise starter they were likely planning when it went into production. The whole film feels oddly compromised, as if big chunks of it were reshot, with the seams most clearly showing through the lackluster narration (by Wahlberg) which opens the movie and the haphazard ending. Neither feels like a logical addition to what must have been a pricey movie.
It doesn’t help that the world they’re building here is extremely confusing. The movie starts with an extended action sequence showing Dylan O’Brien as a super-heroic character named Heinrich Treadway. No time period is given, other than a credit that says “the last life”. I wager this is supposed to be set in the eighties, but there’s no period flavor to make this clear except the stylish cars which, I suppose, could be called vintage.
The casting on this one makes very little sense. Walhberg, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and co-star Sophie Cookson, who plays another “Infinite” are all supposed to be the same age, a notion that seems laughable as Wahlberg is clearly twenty years her senior. His role seems to have been written for a younger man – so why wasn’t the script tweaked to acknowledge the fact that he’s not twenty-five anymore?
Running 105 minutes, there’s a ton of exposition to blow through, with much of it falling to Cookson, who’s promisingly charismatic following her turn in the Kingsman movies. Wahlberg gives it his all and works well in the numerous action scenes, while Ejiofor mercilessly chews the scenery as the heavily accented baddie. Everything moves along so far that immediately once we’re introduced to the vast network of Infinites, they’re under siege, leaving Wahlberg essentially a one-man army in the climax.
Fuqua seems to be having fun staging the action sequences, which are different than usual for the grounded director, with a heavy lean on CGI, complete with a scene where Wahlberg rides a motorcycle onto the wing of a plane in flight. He’s going the Michael Bay route with the frenetic editing, but at least he gives it some pace, which keeps it lightly entertaining, even if in a so bad its good way.
Too bad, because the plot in this thing is shockingly messy. It borders on incomprehensible, and there were times when I had to pause the film in kind of a “wait, what the hell is going on now…” way that I hope speaks more to its convoluted nature than my own stupidity. Here’s hoping!
Overall, it’s a pretty bad Mark Wahlberg vehicle, perhaps not quite as bad as Mile-22 or the last two Transformers movies, but nowhere near as good as some of his winners like Lone Survivor or Deepwater Horizon. He gives it his all. So does Fuqua and Cookson (with Jason Mantzoukas as late-emerging comic relief), but the movie is a mess from beginning to end. Maybe them dumping it on Paramount Plus isn’t such a bad fate after all.