Netflix’s The Last Days of American Crime marks the return of Olivier Megaton, the same filmmaker who gave us the horrendous Taken 2 (2012) and Taken 3 (2015). In his latest feature based upon the 2009 graphic novel of the same name, he continues to botch his directing career with another colossal failure. A colossal failure of epic proportions, to be exact, complete with a patience-testing 148 minutes (!) running time that feels like an eternity.
Let’s begin with the story. Written by Karl Gajdusek (2013’s Oblivion, 2014’s The November Man), this movie wants us to suspend our disbelief by embracing a far-fetched premise about the US government in the not-so-distant future uses a technology capable of emitting loud signals whenever someone attempts to commit a crime. Then along came Graham Bricke (Edgar Ramirez), a bank robber who finds himself enlisted by a sociopathic criminal named Kevin Cash (Michael Pitt) to stage a big heist to steal a huge sum of government money.
But rather than setting up the stage through sequences of elaborate planning commonly seen in most heist films, the movie chose to stretch its running time with half-baked subplots. This includes an erotic drama of sorts involving the so-called love triangle between Bricke, Cash and a femme fatale hacker named Shelby Dupree (Anna Brewster). Naturally, there are few obligatory sex scenes thrown in as well. Except for the fact, they are all cheesily staged like some poor B-grade softcore erotica. It doesn’t help either when Anna Brewster’s role is mostly neglected to mere eye candy, even though there’s a minor plot that supposed to justify her reason for doing so. Blame it on Megaton’s incompetent direction, who fails to flesh out her character well enough to make us care.
And that is not all, as the movie also deals with Cash’s internal conflict with his big-time gangster dad (Patrick Bergin). At one point, there’s an elaborate scene involving their heated argument between the two of them. The kind that escalates to an unpleasant moment, which feels more like an unintentionally funny moment. That scene alone is unbelievably a combination of embarrassingly poor acting and writing.
If that doesn’t test your patience enough, the movie rubs more salt to the wound by adding another subplot related to Sharlto Copley’s character as a cop. It’s more like a stunt casting of sorts, with a barely-there existence that should have excised altogether. Seriously, why bother hiring Sharlto Copley if they don’t give him anything substantial to make his presence worthwhile?
Even by the time the heist finally takes place after an excruciatingly long wait, the payoff fails to generate little sense of excitement. Although I can tolerate Megaton’s less incomprehensible camerawork this time around, most of the action sequences lacking the necessary palpable tension. In the end, they are all just loud noises and not even the copious amount of violence can save this awfully turgid mess of a movie.
The acting is just as average, particularly Michael Pitt’s shamelessly over-the-top performance as the wildly eccentric Kevin Cash. Edgar Ramirez, in the meantime, is equally wasted in a dull lead role as Graham Bricke with his overall monotonous acting.