Terminal film review: Margot Robbie plays stripper/assassin in clichéd, cartoonish film noir
Robbie gives a fun performance and it’s good to see Mike Myers, but the obvious plot and twists make this film noir both cartoonish and disappointing
A neon-drenched film noir steeped in film clichés, Vaughn Stein’s tale of femmes fatales, hitmen and suicide cases feels as terminal as the title suggests. Stylishly designed, albeit set in a fantasy land of strip bars, seedy hotels, diners and deserted train stations, Terminal is a nasty little story of bloody revenge, enlivened only by a glossy cast led by Margot Robbie and Mike Myers.
The film begins in the aforementioned station, as English professor Bill (Simon Pegg) is waiting for a train, we learn later, to throw himself under. Advised by the janitor (Myers, disguised by heavy prosthetics) that there will be no more trains that night, he tells him to get along to the all-night eatery, End of the Line. There, he meets Robbie’s waitress Annie, all too keen to help him with his suicidal plan.
Also in the story are two assassins (Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons) waiting for a target to appear – a job undertaken on behalf of the anonymous crime boss Mr Franklin. These two sub-Pulp Fiction heavies soon get embroiled with the spirited Annie, who happens to moonlight from waiting tables at a nearby strip club.
It all adds up to not very much at all, as Stein introduces a couple of all-too-obvious twists and double-crosses. Regurgitating the minx-like persona she used in Suicide Squad , Robbie has a ball, but the same can’t be said for the anonymous and anodyne Pegg. Myers’ return is also welcome, but his work – much like the film itself – is too cartoon-like. Disappointing.
Terminal opens on August 16
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