Infinite is a soulless grind. Juiced up with a succession of CG-enhanced accelerated chases and fight action interspersed with numbing bursts of high-concept geek speak, Antoine Fuqua’s sci-fi thriller isn’t helped by a lead performance from Mark Wahlberg at his most inexpressive.
This one offers plenty of lurid fun and some genuine scares. But the grounding in dark spirituality that made the previous entries focused on the Warrens so compelling gets diluted, despite the reliably dignifying double-act of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson.
In terms of sustaining a narrative using only FaceTime, Skype, Facebook, video downloads and various other web pages and social media platforms, Profile is quite impressive up to a point. In terms of coherent plotting and plausibility, not so much. That means that as the storytelling falls apart, the online framework devolves into a labored tech gimmick, and a visually tiresome one at that.
There’s no shortage of excitement, suspense, jokey camaraderie, sorrowful losses, satisfying comeuppances, twists and turns to fill the generous running time, with plenty of variation in the bloody encounters.
There's enough here to keep you engrossed, particularly once the camera pulls back in a majestic reveal of the environment surrounding the pod. The visual effects are slick, but the most indispensable effect is the human element of Laurent's performance — by turns distraught, desperate, tough, determined and resourceful.
The result is a solid entry in the Clancy screen canon — gritty, briskly paced, laced with vigorously choreographed fight scenes, explosive weapons action and twisty political intrigue that seems prescient as it taps into the most strained period in U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War.
Ultimately, this is an original adventure that feels stitched together out of a hundred familiar film plots, often freely acknowledging its pop-cultural plundering, as in the family's obligatory slo-mo power strut away from a building exploding in flames. But for audiences content with rapid-fire juvenilia, the busy patchwork of prefab elements will be entertaining enough.
After an intriguing setup that takes its time building atmosphere and characters, declining to rush the first death, the film becomes progressively more overwrought and hokey. It also loads up on derivative tropes that worked better everywhere from Ringu through The Conjuring Universe.
Despite an undernourished thread connecting key characters by their experience of loss, seldom have the human figures and their interplay been as peripheral to the headline action in a popcorn blockbuster. The good news is that even if the convoluted kaiju mythology tends to trip over itself in a plot that only barely makes sense, the Monsterverse face-off delivers plenty of visceral excitement.
The frenetic plot makes about as much sense as it needs to within this world of slapstick insanity, random detours, crazy chases, gambling fever and a talent quest for "the coveted Campy Award." You'll either give in to it, or you won't.
Walker's story no doubt is grounded in a very real milieu that reflects the grim existence of countless Americans returning from active duty to a country blighted by economic downturn, shrinking opportunity and substance abuse. But the only reality Cherry reflects with numbing insistence is that of co-directors getting high on their own high style.