This is all Luc Besson’s fault.
Six years ago, Besson unleashed Taken into the world and in the time since Liam Neeson and his particular set of skills hit the screen, cranking out chase’em down, shoot’em up, blow’em up mid-level movies has become all the rage.
The November Man falls right in line with those films — a set in Europe, retired operative gets pulled back in tale that is light on story and heavy on people getting shot.
Pierce Brosnan stars in his first spy role since turning in his gun to M and walking away from being 007 and while he’s still got all the goods to pull off this role, it honestly comes off like James Bond deciding to dust off his Walther PPK and go after some bad guys, only he’s gone a little rogue and his former protege-turned-replacement is tabbed to track him down and eliminate him.
Somewhere in this mess of explosions and Russian spies is a solid action-thriller, but Matt Damon-era Bourne movies aren’t what studios are looking for these days. Instead, you get one star (Brosnan), an up-and-comer (Luke Bracey) and a pretty damsel in distress (Olga Kurylenko) shaken together with a political storyline and served over a moderate budget that is much easier to recoup.
Given that this film is taken from a book series by Bill Granger, there is a strong chance that we’ll see The November Man II: Electric Bugaloo at some point in two or three years. For the record, there are 13 books in the November Man series, with this story being derived from the seventh book, There Are No Spies. With that kind of wealth of source material, let’s set the over/under on November Man movies on four.
I’ll take the over, but only because I anticipate at least two direct-to-DVD efforts starring Bracey about a dozen years from now.
Brosnan still has the swagger of Bond and the Remington Steele charm for those that remember his turn on television way back when, but this is a paint-by-numbers spy-thriller that is just good enough to keep you amused, but not good enough to make you recommend that your friends rush out and see this film.
Note: You should also not bring your two daughters to see this movie either. There was a couple in front of me that made that unfortunate choice.
Let’s just say it was kind of weird watching a dude’s throat and a girl’s femoral artery get slashed with two young girls under the age of 10 sitting in front of me. That’s to say nothing of the awkwardness that comes with a “strippers and blow” scene, a sexual assault scene and countless dudes getting shot at close range. To make matters worse, the parents didn’t seem to care for the movie all that much.
I didn’t either.