The Last Days of American Crime, an Interminable Time

Two-and-a-half hours for a middling wannabe crime epic and heist film that barely spends any of that time on the heist itself? Olivier Megaton has tasted success as a purveyor of Taken and Transporter sequels, but he’s in over his head here and clearly taken such success for granted. How else do you explain such an interminable runtime for a script that doesn’t warrant two hours, much less more than that? Edgar Ramirez is a blank slate as a silent-but-deadly type named Bricke (yup), a criminal looking for one last score before the fascistic American government of the future institutes a nationwide brain wave signal that acts as a synaptic blocker, preventing anyone from committing any crime ever again. Never mind the many holes inherent in such a scheme, like the white collar and White House criminals who are still cavorting around with money to spare and not a care in the world. From police brutality to one-percenter classism, Last Days is straining to be relevant whilst never committing to its themes in a meaningful way, instead resorting to vague references and ugly inferences so we’re constantly reminded that “everything is bullshit.” Last Days is an immature cynic’s idea of a complex movie, a faux-commentary on the current and possible future status of American society. Michael Pitt, try as he might, can’t save the film as a squirrelly sociopath who recruits Bricke for the big job we know nothing about. His energy is infectious, implying another world, another movie that’s much more fun than the dull, overly serious slog that is Megaton’s overall effort. But the world is not enough. Not when there are so many distractions or promising developments that lead to nowhere, like a subplot involving a cop that completely wastes the assorted hammy talents of actor Sharlto Copely. Not when the action, its primary reason for existing, fails to incite plot momentum or even excite us on a primal level. Save Pitt and a subplot that could’ve been, The Last Days of American Crime is a failure in every way.

Grade: D+

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