A Mark Wahlberg action vehicle may be the most unpredictable type of film out there—you can strike gold with Patriots Day or The Other Guys, or you could end up with a pile of crap like Transformers: The Last Knight or last year’s Spenser Confidential.
Either way, we’re getting a new one called Infinite, a science fiction action film from Antoine Fuqua, who has previously directed Training Day and The Equalizer. This film stars Wahlberg as a schizophrenic man who discovers his dreams are actually visions from previous lives.
Surprisingly, this movie is not a pile of crap. It has a few crappy moments, but Infinite is a surprisingly fun movie that likely won’t be sticking in your mind long after you watch it but delivers on the popcorn entertainment you may expect from a sci-fi actioner.
The film opens with quite a thrilling car chase that looks visually impressive. The stunts pulled off and the energy the film hooks you with is quite promising. The first act of the film moves at a great pace, setting up the protagonist, Evan McCauley, as a schizophrenic in need of a job.
At times, the way the film delivers exposition can be weak; the film opens with narration from Evan which sets up the world of the “infinites” who can recall their past lives, as well as the two opposing sides within this group. The exposition seems unnecessary given that it is stated again later on in the film.
We mainly learn about Evan’s backstory with schizophrenia when Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character, Ted Murray, recites it out loud for Evan, but we only get glimpses of his condition and his visions. It’s a film where you can tell that a lot was left on the cutting room floor to trim the runtime, but the remaining scenes do the job.
Later on, the narration is used more effectively to paint a picture of Evan’s character and the mysteries behind how he thinks and the skills he doesn’t know how he learned. The rest of the story doesn’t offer much, as the film follows a man who has lost his way, a badass woman who takes him on a journey of self-discovery, and a villain who wants to put a stop to it.
This story can feel like a carbon copy of The Matrix, making it the second film this year to take inspiration from one of the greatest sci-fi actioners ever made. The first film I’m referring to is Bliss, a god-awful movie on every level, and Infinite is considerably better than Bliss, even if it can feel like nothing more than a cover of your favorite song.
What makes the film work is the action setpieces—the car chases, the shootouts, and the thrilling large-spectacle finale give audiences a considerable amount of stylized action, with fast cars, cool stunts, and exciting fights.
Much of the film’s qualities are forgettable. The movie could have benefitted from more characterization and an emotional core at its center, but the film offers just enough action setpieces and star power to not become entirely disposable.
Wahlberg is giving a perfectly watchable performance as this reluctant action hero with a bit of a comedic edge, and Ejiofor is chewing up the scenery as a villain who looms over our heroes while pursuing his own goal. The premise about a hero destined to save the world has been done much better in other films, but it serves its purpose in this movie.
Infinite is a movie that you can turn on and enjoy. There are better films out there, but this movie does an excellent job of putting its characters in danger and keeping the story exciting throughout its runtime. This movie may not be pure gold, but you’ll likely find a glimmer of it buried somewhere in this sci-fi picture.
Grade: ★★★✬☆ [7/10, B-]
Infinite premieres June 10 exclusively on Paramount+.
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of strong violence, some bloody images, strong language and brief drug use