Two days ago, I watched the 2006 film, The Contract, starring Morgan Freeman and John Cusack. It took me two days to recover from this movie before I could write this review.
To learn about the backstory, I’d strongly suggest you watch the trailer by clicking here.
For those too lazy to do that, a very quick overview. Frank Carden (Morgan Freeman) is an assassin who escapes the U.S. marshals only to run into Ray Keene (John Cusack), an ex-policeman who is now a gym teacher (great career transition) and feels it’s his job to get Carden to justice. Keene and his son are pursued through the woods by Carden’s colleagues.
This movie is certainly not one that I would have seen in theaters because the trailer doesn’t look that good. We got it for a few bucks and I wasn’t very entertained.
Every time I see John Cusack or Keanu Reeves, I cringe, because I have no idea how they ever got into Hollywood. In everything I’ve seen them in, their acting has been horrible. Reeves starred in The Replacements with Gene Hackman, which I didn’t think was too bad, but that can be attributed to the supporting cast more than to Reeves. Nicolas Cage was great in Con Air, which overshadowed Cusack’s flat secondary role. Neither Reeves nor Cusack do anything for me.
Now that you know a little about why I cringe, back to the review. Once again, Cusack was flat and boring. With Cusack as a main character, one could say this film was doomed before I started it. He’s supposed to be the father who has to balance his and his son’s safety against his want to serve justice, but his lack of emotion in displaying this predicament is a huge problem for me. I can’t relate to this character at all nor do I really care what happens to him. His son, played by Jamie Anderson, also has little emotional capacity. Maybe the characters are supposed to be introverts, but there are still ways that introverts show emotion and Cusack and Anderson fail to even do that.
I never really developed any character connection with these characters, not even Freeman’s. He did what he could with a script that could have been written by a middle school student, but not even the great Freeman could make me care. For example, while they’re evading Carden’s colleagues, the three’s interaction goes like this:
Anderson: “Dad, we should let him go.”
Carden: “Your son’s right, Keene. You should let me go and go back home.”
Keene: “No, keep moving.”
The same dialogue goes on again and again. Surprisingly, I got tired of hearing it (this sentence has been laced with deadly amounts of sarcasm). What is Freeman supposed to do with that?
Similar to After Earth, there are more scenes of hiking/running then there are of actual action scenes. The action scenes were very unrealistic. Some great movies have very unrealistic action scenes, but that’s because the goal was to make the most improbable stuff happen because it’s cool and it gets people pumped. The scenes in this movie weren’t meant to be unrealistic, but somehow the filmmakers failed to make realistic action scenes and instead made them so corny that they were hilarious. The actors have serious faces on while doing these scenes, too, only adding to my amusement.
There are also a ton of plot holes in this movie. Some allowed for the comedic action scenes, but most made me say “Stupid, stupid, stupid.”
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
90-100 It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3)
70-79 It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Oblivion)
60-69 It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one.
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this.
30-39 Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb.
20-29 What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow.
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.”
My score for The Contract: 37.
The humorous action scenes were the only thing that made me keep watching. I discuss these scenes more in-depth in the spoiler’s edition below, along with direct links to what I’m talking about. The acting was typical Cusack-ish, boring, dull, and corny as can be. This movie was also very predictable, which means there are no surprises. Unless, you’re really bored, I wouldn’t suggest watching this.
*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!
First, the writers for this movie should feel horrible for ever conceiving the idea for this movie. Some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen. I’m pretty good at picking out good movies and I admit that I didn’t expect this to be good, but even an average performing movie will most likely get a score in the sixties. This is just a testament to how bad this movie really was.
The movie starts with Keene’s son being busted for pot, and throughout the movie, Keene’s son is the stereotypical underachieving son. Later on, there’s a scene where one of Carden’s colleagues catches Keene between two trees and shoots him, walks over and says, “I hate amateurs.” As if on cue, Keene flips around, trips the guy and puts two in his chest. Keene gets up without a scratch. All of Carden’s colleagues are highly trained ex-military, so there’s simply no way that Keene didn’t get hit. It was stupid.
Later on, Keene beats up two of them with right jabs. Here’s a clip if you want a laugh.
There are plenty of other problems I have with this movie, but it’s seriously not even worth talking about.