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04 Sep 2014

I Spy a Bomb: 'The November Man' Is an Awful, Cliché-Ridden Wreck

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Pierce Brosnan in The November Man. Pierce Brosnan in The November Man.

Welcome to the end of summer, that miserable time when Hollywood runs out of interesting movies—and starts farting garbage.

A prime example: The November Man, a truly awful movie with Pierce Brosnan headlining. This film got a big theatrical release, even though it’s the sort of thing most TV executives would look at and say, “Hey, ya know what? I don’t want to air that rote piece of shit, even if it does have the former James Bond guy in it. It’s not good enough for TV. Let’s just rerun The Wizard of Oz or America’s Got Talent. Now … blow me!”

Brosnan stars as Devereaux, a former CIA guy who winds up in places like Russia, where he shoots people like nobody’s business and gets himself mixed up in their politics. There’s no way any American would get away with the crazy crap this guy does; he’d get squashed like a bug the second he stepped out of his hotel room.

The film is rife with spy-movie clichés. Devereaux has a wife and child, and this fact creates “complications”; a former trainee he shepherded (Luke Bracey) is on his trail; a couple of CIA leaders of questionable character (Will Patton and Bill Smitrovich) are messing with him. Yes, there is also a mysterious damsel in distress (Olga Kurylenko) that Devereaux must protect while dealing with a serious drinking problem.

This is your basic “Who is the real bad guy?” film, with everybody doing something relatively nasty at one time or another. Brosnan’s character offs a lot of people, and even cuts an innocent woman’s femoral artery to make a dramatic point. Incidentally, that woman’s sole purpose is to provide the movie with a sex scene for Bracey’s character. She shows up, gets naked, and has her femoral artery severed. Her character gets into bed with Bracey’s character because her cat always winds up in his apartment. Of course, his apartment’s door is always closed, so her cat always getting in there must be the result of some serious stalker behavior that the movie never really addresses. Bracey never says, “Say, your cat is always in my apartment, which means you had to open my door and put it there—unless your cat is a ghost cat that can pass through doors, which would be disturbing.” She’s hot, so she gets away with it.

Devereaux and company blow things up like crazy, and shoot at each other in the streets of Moscow and Belgrade, with no interruption from authorities. This stuff is going down in public, and nobody with a Russian accent shows up and says, “This nonsense stops now. Go home, imperialist pigs.” Nope.

Director Roger Donaldson has had a strange career. The man should’ve been banned from the movie industry for making Cocktail back in 1988, and yet he continues to get work. He’s actually responsible for another terrible Brosnan flick, the miserable volcano epic Dante’s Peak. In the midst of all this crap, he also managed to make fine films The World’s Fastest Indian and Thirteen Days, so go figure.

You would think that with the resources given to them, the Hollywood movie machine would be able to give us at least one quality film per week. Alas, the well has already run dry this summer, and we will probably have to wait until October to see something really good.

The November Man is playing at theaters across the valley.

2 comments

  • Comment Link a stupid awful movie Thursday, 08 January 2015 09:54 posted by a stupid awful movie

    AWFUL.
    So awful that they have to explain the title.

    "You know why we call you the november man BEHIND YOUR BACK?!?!?"

    'No'

    "because after you everything dies!"

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  • Comment Link lrc Friday, 05 September 2014 18:39 posted by lrc

    I just don't understand how no one on the production side of this movie saw the ridiculousness of the neighbor's cat entering Bracey's character's apartment. He is, after all, a CIA operative. It never disturbs him that his apartment is so vulnerable a cat can get in whenever it wants to. He just cuddles the cat and returns it to the neighbor.

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