Main cast: Chadwick Boseman (Jacob King), Luke Evans (Dr Paul Wentworth), Teresa Palmer (Kelly), Natalie Martinez (Trish), Alfred Molina (Mike Preston), Tom Felton (Frankie), Jake Weary (Bill), Drew Powell (Merrick), Chris Mulkey (Frank Leary), Tom Wright (Waylon), Wade Williams (Keegan), Diego Josef (Armand), Sibongile Mlambo (Bianca King), and Lucan Melkonian (Zico)
Director: Fabrice Du Welz
Jacob King flies from Cape Town to Los Angeles at the summon of his sister Bianca, who seems to be in trouble. Well, she is – she’s missing, as is her husband and son. What is going on? Our hero proceeds to investigate, and meets the usual tart with the heart of gold, sleazy politician, smarmy drug deals, creepy dentists… the usual.
Chadwick Boseman must be thanking his lucky stars that he’s now Black Panther, if that means he can pass on movies like Message from the King in the future. My goodness, this is one film that would have been so much better if it had been cut into half its length or something, because the whole thing just meanders around like a zombie shambling in search for brains. For a long time, this movie is about Jacob meeting people one by one to demand what they know of his sister. Repeat and rinse, and intersperse the interrogation marathon with Mr Boseman glaring gloomily at the distance. Never mind that the characters here are all gangster movie clichés – the movie seems to believe that I will find them fascinating because there will be long drawn out scenes of Mr Boseman staring at the single-mother prostitute Kelly, she staring back at him, and they just keep staring and staring and… shudder. This movie is only around 100 minutes long but it feels like 100 hours due to how unnecessarily draggy it is.
Things eventually happen around the one hour mark, which means everything fun is crammed into the final forty or so minutes. Oh wait, did I say fun? Maybe it’s due to budget limitations, but dramatic moments like explosions take place for oh, one second before the camera quickly cuts away. Budget issues may also explain why the movie focuses so much on the cast barely doing anything – perhaps to save money on the need to order CGI or something for post-production. Still, it seems like they spent $10 million on this… maybe the bulk of that went to the actors’ salaries, who knows.
I do know that this is a long, long movie in which nothing interesting happens over long stretches of time. The most exciting thing about Message from the King is the dramatic title – everything else about it embodies the sleeping pill effect.