Main cast: Scott Adkins (Martin Baxter), Honor Kneafsey (Lisa), Andrea Vasiliou (Suzanne), Anna Butkevich (Tatyana), Victor Solé (Maxim), Matt Mitler (Mark Ramley), Yuliia Sobol (Sacha), Martin McDougall (Trevor), and Chee Leon Sua (Edwards)
Director: Adrian Bol
Legacy of Lies is the first new movie to hit Malaysian cinemas since they reopened a few weeks back, so of course I have to show some support to the nearest cinema that has brought me so much joy before. Well, that and I know that hardly anyone will be there, so social distancing is basically guaranteed as a result, plus they are slashing prices like crazy at the concession kiosk. So, cheap food in a cinema that I have almost all to myself. Lovely.
Originally producer Marco Robinson was supposed to play the lead role, but they needed a “bankable star” in order to obtain the financing for the film. Hence, Scott Adkins. Although, if we were supposed to let Mr Adkins make bank, why is he keeping his shirt on again for so much of this movie? Still, Mr Adkins is a reliable actor star that can kick rear ends… in a movie that doesn’t really let him kick rear ends. Sigh.
The script feels dated, like it would be right at home in the slew of Cold War B-grade flicks that were everywhere in the 1980s. Ex-MI6 agent Martin Baxter is running away from his past, constantly moving in spite of the consternation of his daughter Lisa. Lisa claims that she is 12 and it’s time she settles down in some place and thinks of her “career”. Yes, she’s that kind of annoying precocious snot-bucket that the scriptwriter Adrian Bol mistakenly believes to be so cute and adorable. At any rate, Martin’s past catches up with him full force when he is approached by Sacha, the daughter of a journalist whose death Martin is in a way involved in. While Martin is reluctant to help her, that meeting alone is enough to put him on the radar of MI6. the CIA, and the KGB. Given that Lisa is the kind of mouth off at the most inconvenient times and can never follow sensible instructions, I don’t think anyone will be shocked when she gets kidnapped by the KGB in order to secure Martin’s cooperation.
The good news is that there is nothing particularly awful about this movie.
Well, the bad news is that there is nothing particularly great about it either. The movie plays out like a roll call of stereotypes indulging in played-out scenes that will be familiar to people who have watched enough movies featuring ex-spies and the agencies that want them for all kinds of inconvenient reasons. The only thing that stands out is Lisa, and that’s not in a good way: she is a grating, irritating creatures that radiates snottiness and slap-me-I’m-annoying vibes each time the actress opens her mouth. She exists to be a baggage in this story, which only makes her an even more unlikable character.
Worse, the other characters in this movie don’t talk—they dump expositions onto Martin. Nearly every scene here is some character explaining things to the audience through Martin. Occasionally the movie tries for comedy, but by that point I’m too deadened by the artificial conversations to care or laugh.
Also, the action scenes aren’t that numerous or interesting. If anything, this movie felt like it were made for the elephantine girth of Steven Seagal to play the lead role, with action scenes minimized because stand-in stuntmen for Mr Seagal can eat into the budget. There are more scenes of people talking than anything else, and I don’t know why they cast someone like Scott Adkins in such a movie. Maybe it’s because he has some free time and maybe he owes the producers or director a favor?
At any rate, while Legacy of Lies isn’t a bad movie by any means, it’s also a forgettable one. Seriously, they should have let Mr Adkins stay shirtless throughout the movie to help me stay awake easier.