Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Will’s soon-to-be ex-wife mysteriously vanishes at a gas station. He delves into the town’s criminal underbelly while running from the authorities in a race against time to find her.
Review: Last Seen Alive may be compared to Taken by most audiences, but while watching it the film that came to my mind was 1997’s Breakdown starring Kurt Russel as a man whose wife disappears from a rest stop while they’re on a road trip. All three films may have slightly similar premises but unfortunately Last Seen Alive doesn’t handle the material half as well as those other movies did.
Gerard Butler is always a solid choice as your ordinary Joe tossed into extraordinary circumstances. His movie Greenland (which coincidentally also had him in a rocky marriage) was a sleeper hit that generated enough positive buzz and views as to warrant its upcoming sequel. Here he plays a man named Will on his way to drop off his wife Lisa played by Jaime Alexander (Blindspot, Thor) at her parents’ house as she wants a separation to think about their relationship. They stop at a gas station and Lisa is abducted, leaving Will to play hero.
It’s an easy to digest type of thriller, the kind of premise that’s been done a dozen times over, but what makes a story like this work is loads of tension and a relationship you’re invested in. If we don’t care about the people involved, we don’t care about the outcome. Here’s another example for you—remember Halle Berry’s movie Kidnap? She played a mother whose young son is abducted. The movie not only puts gas to pedal immediately (literally in this case as she spends much of the film chasing his captors in her car) but we connect with the characters of Mother and Son. In Last Seen Alive, they don’t give any time at all to the relationship between Will and Lisa. All we get is about five minutes of them driving in the car before she’s kidnapped and later on we get flashbacks of their life together via Will’s memories. It’s not enough!
God bless Gerard Butler as he does his best to make you stick it out with him and, to be fair, there are a couple tense scenes, like a fight between Will and a dude called Knuckles (Ethan Embry), as well as a later scene of Will slowly making his way through a meth lab where he thinks Lisa is being held. In both scenes the tension is quite palpable but overall there’s just not enough to call this an entertaining thriller.
The side characters are paper thin, the villains are blink-and-forget ‘em types and the ending has to be the most anticlimactic scene I’ve watched in ages. It almost feels like they wanted to go a darker route but chickened out at the last minute. The Vanishing this movie is not!
Last Seen Alive is only worth watching if you’re a fan of Gerard Butler. The poor man carries this movie on his back but even he can only do so much. A couple solid moments does not make for a great thriller, so if you’re in the mood for an abduction-based flick, take your pick of any of the four I mentioned above, because Last Seen Alive isn’t worth the time.
Score: 5 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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And you can check out my video review below:
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