Djimon Hounsou is known for showing up as a henchman in far-ranging places such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Furious Seven, and Seventh Son. Which is too bad, because the Academy Award nominee from Amistad can still hold a lead role. Check him out in a Thai action movie called Elephant White. His colleague is unlikely heartthrob Norman Reedus, one of the few actors from The Walking Dead whose performance manages to transcend the low bar of TV sincerity barely attained by the rest of the cast. If you’ve got serious indie movie cred, you might know Reedus from Boondock Saints. I’ve never seen Boondock Saints.
In Air, a microbudget movie written and directed by one of Rockstar’s main writers and produced by the guy who did the Walking Dead comic books, they’re in charge of maintaining a mysterious underground bunker whose purpose is revealed as the movie progresses. Basically, they’re janitors awakened from suspended animation for an hour or so every few months. Why are they here? What are they doing? What’s going on in the wider world? Stop guessing, because you’re liable to get the right answers and accidentally ruin the movie for yourself.
But Air isn’t trying to be a mystery so much as it’s trying to be a relationship movie. However, the inherent problem with the genre of men-in-a-bunker/lifeboat/spaceship is that you can only do so much with men in a bunker, lifeboat, or spaceship. So it takes the sort of serious writing chops that went into Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, or Duncan Jones’ Moon. It takes the sort of serious writing chops that go into making, say, a good stage play. But with Air, we get a facile morality play that decides to escalate itself into a paranoid confrontation just in time for the climax. After this supposed burst of excitement provided by two men at each other’s throats, the whole enterprise just sort of, uh, stops breathing. Without better material, Hounsou and Reedus are left to thrash about without much motivation. A timer flops down numbers on the wall. That’s how long until the movie is over. Once it’s done, it turns out that Air is, ironically, a slight and curiously airless affair.
Air is available on video on demand. Watch it on Amazon.com to support Qt3.