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The Bricklayer

Updated: Feb 4

THE BRICKLAYER has been sitting on the shelf for a long time without release. It should have stayed there.

The only thing worse than the screenplay are some of the actors spewing the dialogue.

Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) is okay as ex-CIA agent Steve Vail, retired to the life of a quiet bricklayer, listening to Miles Davis in his headphones as he slops mortar.

He's pulled back in when a former confidant starts killing reporters and framing CIA agents around the world for the murders.

First of all, I'm not sure who would be surprised that CIA agents are taking anyone out, but apparently we're supposed to be aghast and global balance teeters in the balance. Really?

Vale's former boss, CIA Director O'Malley calls Vail back to duty, which Vale only accepts after a goon squad tries to take him out. Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) is wasted in a gruff government boss role that's straight out of any 80's cop show.

And then there is the young agent that O'Malley pairs with Vail. Nina Dobrev stars as Kate Bannon, an analyst mobilized to hop on a global transport with Vail and save the world. Dobrev has appeared in a lot of things I've never seen, like "The Vampire Diaries" and she's just plain awful.

Her emotions seems all over the map and usually inappropriate for the situation. She cries a lot, freezes when she's supposed to shoot and by the time she gets her moment to shine, I just didn't care anymore.

On the opposite side of the talent range, Ilfenesh Hadera steals the movie as Greece CIA Station Agent Tye Delson. She's terrific, believable and dangerous. Her scenes with Eckhart are the best in the film.

Director Renny Harlin was a major player in the 90's with films like "Die Hard 2" and "Cliffhanger". He's also made some serious crap like "Cutthroat Island" and "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane", which killed Andrew Dice Clay's movie career for decades.

Harlin feels stuck in the 90's here. The fight sequences are fair but pale compared to John Wick. Wick fights everyone at the same time. Vail is still battling bad guys from 20 years ago, who still wait their turn to attack.

A car chase or two pop up and are serviceable, but nothing above an episode of "The Blacklist" on TV.

My eyes hurt from rolling them at the jumps in logic and ridiculous scenarios on display. In one scene, Vail emerges from a huge bad-guy hideaway, rolling up a massive garage door and standing back lit by a giant fire ball.

I laughed out loud it was so stupid.

Save two hours and go back and watch ANY Jason Bourne film. THE BRICKLAYER sinks quickly in its own mortar, earning a sloppy, stupid D.



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