The Answer

After being attacked, an introverted young man must follow clues left by his dead parents in order to figure out who is after him – and who he really is.

The Answer is a paint-by-numbers actioner with elements from better sci-fi films. Borrowing liberally from The Terminator, The Matrix, and V, the flick features a hero that is only mildly likable thrown into a scenario that makes Sharknado seem watchable.

Let’s start from the top. Bridd Cole (Austin Hébert) is a hapless nobody working in a mailroom with no family to speak of. This guy is the living definition of bland, boring and just plain dull yet he has a remarkable ability to process information and calculations like nobody’s business. Things are all going fine until he receives a package from his deceased mother who has been out of the picture for 20 years.

What is this strange device that he received in the mail from his dead mom?

The package contains a device that is alien to Bridd and seems useless. That is, until the “Bad Guy” pointedly named Leader (David S. Lee) appears in a head-to-to, black motor-racing outfit to kill Bridd. Leader frames our hero fro crimes he didn’t commit, Bridd grabs tousle-headed coworker Charlotte (Alexis Carra), and bolts from the danger while trying to solve the mysteries that surround him.

What is this strange device that he received in the mail from his dead mom? Why did his parents disappear 20 years ago? What if anything, does any of this have to do with his own hidden past? Why did Charlotte come along for the ride? No, seriously.

This is a chase film whose remaining shreds of tension are undercut by the writing that puts the desire for a cool scene over the reason to have it in the first place. This is an action film that sabotages itself at nearly every turn by giving the characters glib things to say instead of staying in the moment or, (gasp) reacting to the stressful situations they are in. The Answer is that kind of movie.

“This is an action film that sabotages itself at nearly every turn…”

It is also a shame that a low-budget film chose to be so ambitious and only succeed in showing the seams of the budget. Sci-Fi can be done on the cheap and done well. It’s not easy but it can happen. Take for instance the brilliant time travel film Primer that cost a mere $7,000. They had relatively nothing and built a concept you believed in. Here we are given more “whiz bang” and far less believability.

Near the climax of the movie Bridd has his “A-HA!” moment. It’s a quizzical bit of memory play that has him beating his dad at ping pong. Yeah. Okay, well the point of that is to display the already established fact that he processes quickly. Because we didn’t get that in the opening scenes. The showdown happens and, instead of a climactic action scene we are given a hero’s monologue. Instead of showing us the revelation, our hero espouses the facts before dispensing with the conclusion of the film.

Ahmed. That’s the man to blame here. But after reading this review and you still choose to see the movie, blame yourself. Don’t ask the question. You don’t want The Answer.

The Answer (2017) Directed by Iqbal Ahmed Written by: Iqbal Ahmed Staring: Austin Hébert, Alexis Carra, David S. Lee

The Answer is worth Don’t Bother (*).

* Norm’s Rating System: Full Price (****), Matinee (***), VOD (**), Don’t Bother (*) 

 

 

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