Will and Lisa Spann are going through a tough patch. Their marriage is on the rocks, and Lisa has asked for some time apart so she can sort things out and clear her head. Will wants to forgive and move on (there are hints of infidelity), but Lisa needs some space. So he’s driving her to her parents home where she plans on staying a few weeks until she can figure out what to do next. With only a few miles left, Will stops at a convenient store for gas. And so begins “Last Seen Alive”, the new(ish) yet not-so-new action thriller starring Gerard Butler.
Directed by Brian Goodman from a screenplay by Marc Frydman, “Last Seen Alive” is a case of a genuinely interesting setup that goes nowhere. And while it’s essentially an action thriller, the action is scarce and the thrills are nonexistent. So we’re left waiting for a movie that grabs our attention in its first fifteen minutes to take us someplace…anyplace. It never does. It never develops or maintains any tension. It can’t make the characters worth our investment. And the stakes never feel as high as they should.
At the convenient store, Lisa (Jaimie Alexander) goes inside while Will (Butler) fills up their tank. After waiting a bit he goes in to check on her but can’t find her anywhere. He checks the bathrooms, asks the unhelpful clerk (Michael Irby), and even make circles outside the building asking motorists and truckers if anyone has seen her. Convinced something is terribly wrong, he calls the police. Detective Paterson (Russell Hornsby) eventually responds and begins one of the most perfunctory and scattershot investigations ever put on screen.
Of course we predictably run through the whole ‘Will as a suspect’ angle. And with this being a Gerard Butler movie, you kinda know at some point he’s going to take matters into his own hands. But as Will’s actions and reactions get more bizarre (unintentionally, mind you), it gets harder and harder to buy into him or the story. And no amount of super-seriousness from Butler can change that. Meanwhile Hornsby (who’s a really good actor) is handcuffed by an aggressively generic cop character – a carbon copy of the kind we’ve seen in countless movies through the years.
While nobody seems to be phoning it in, no one is able to bring any energy to “Last Seen Alive” (which is something it desperately needs). It turns out to be one of those maddening movies where people routinely do dumb things, don’t ask the obvious questions, and seem completely oblivious to common sense. And with no compelling characters or exciting action to pick up the slack, the movie sits stuck in neutral and basically squanders a promising start. “Last Seen Alive” is now streaming on VOD and Netflix.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for Gerard Butler, this movie never would’ve gotten any attention, and rightfully so. To me, this was Break/Down lite. Butler is so much better than this.
He seems stuck in these mediocre to all-out bad ‘action thrillers’. Every once in a while one will be pretty good (I liked “Greenland”). But most are pretty blah.
Oh no, not another goddamn SHUT-UP BUTT-WAD film. Fuck that Irish cunt and his essence of mediocrity.
What Gerard Butler’s next movie needs a fight scene in KFC.
It comes out in a few weeks so we shall see. 🙂
Excellent review. It started off intense and with promise then went off the rails. Sometimes unlikeable characters can win me over but I really hoped the worst for both of them.
It does start off well and I had hopes. But it squandered them pretty quick. Such a bummer.