4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
When Remakes Go Bad: A Fantastic Premise Absolutely Ruined By Poor Filmmaking Choices,
This review is from: Common Man (DVD)
For the record, there is no reason that the thriller "A Common Man" could not have made an absolutely terrific movie. It is a remake of the taut, disturbing, and emotionally involving "A Wednesday" from India. So before I go any further, I might direct you to spend your money on purchasing that DVD if the synopsis of this movie sounds intriguing. Where that film soared as a stinging contemplation of terrorism in the modern world AND as a tour-de-force face off of two great actors, "A Common Man" takes the same plot and makes it listless and amateurish. Boasting the name talents of Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross, I seriously could not have imagined a film project that felt more bargain basement in quality. I don't give out too many one star reviews, but the inept filmmaking inherent in this production absolutely ruined a great story. As you can see, I feel very strongly about this one!
The movie begins with promise. Set in Sri Lanka, the story opens as Kingsley travels around town leaving suspicious bags (we'll soon learn that they are bombs) in various public locales like a shopping mall and a train. The last one, he even takes into a police station. He then places a call to the officer in charge (Cross) and warns him of the explosives. After helping them deactivate the bomb in their own office, Kingsley is taken very seriously as he warns of the other devices about town. His demands are simple. Release several prominent terrorists from prison and he'll reward them with the locations they need to save countless lives. He is also using the local media to put pressure on the police. Why is he doing these things? Will his demands be met? What is the motivation? I'm telling you, it's a great story. Everything else, though, is painfully inept.
The dubbing is the first thing you'll notice. It's a mess and it's distracting, nothing syncs with the soundtrack. If most of the actors were speaking another language, I'd have preferred subtitles. But even Cross and Kingsley sound dubbed most of the time. The actors are terrible as well, making broad expressive facial gestures as if they were playing to the back row of a theater. The young reporter, in particular, is so unbelievable. I could list dozens of nonsensical plot points, but I'll limit it to one as an example. They actually track Kingsley's location down. He's on the rooftop of a building and he hides when the helicopter flies over. Oh well, he's not there! That's the extent of expertise and commitment that the police force are represented with. There are so many groan-worthy moments, anything good about the tale can and will be easily overlooked. And what should have been a stunning cat-and-mouse exercise between Cross and Kingsley comes across as two bored actors phoning it in for a paycheck. Please, please, please, check out "A Wednesday" instead of this epic failure. KGHarris, 5/13.