Review: "Lift" (2024) - A Cinematic High-Flyer or a Turbulent Ride?
Soaring with Kevin Hart in a Heist-Infused Spectacle Directed by F Gary Gray
At the heart of "Lift" is Kevin Hart's portrayal of Cyrus Whitaker, a suave thief coerced into an ambitious mid-air heist orchestrated by Interpol. With routine art thefts framed as an art form, Cyrus adds an intriguing layer to his character. The film unfolds predominantly aboard an Airbus A380, introducing viewers to CGI-laden action sequences that showcase F Gary Gray's dynamic handling of hand-to-hand combat. The choice of setting allows the film to leverage CGI effectively, although occasional green screen backdrops prove distracting.
The Quandary of Dated Plotlines:
One of the film's critical challenges arises from its engagement with a plot centered around NFTs, a concept both contemporary and yet out of sync with the times. Adding to this, characters within the movie take moments to explain the intricacies of NFTs, contributing to an awkward narrative flow. The juxtaposition of cutting-edge technology with a mid-2000s heist feel creates a discordant cinematic experience.
Directorial Touch and Visuals:
Gray's directorial finesse is evident in the CGI-heavy action scenes. The Airbus A380 serves as a unique and visually compelling backdrop, allowing the film to strike a balance between tactility and digital spectacle. However, Gray occasionally succumbs to the allure of fully computer-generated shots, particularly in aerial acrobatics involving planes.
Jean Reno portrays the film's antagonist, an arms dealer-type character with motivations so veiled that they border on non-existent. Despite his seasoned acting, Reno's appearances are limited, leaving the audience grappling with an underdeveloped villain. The film attempts to divert attention from this narrative gap by sporadically injecting urgent lines about saving the world and thwarting terrorists.
Cast Dynamics and Mismatched Roles:
Kevin Hart, typically known for his comedic prowess, assumes a straight-man role in "Lift," a departure from his usual wildcard characters. This casting choice feels incongruent with Hart's strengths, possibly influenced by his role as a producer on the project. The film also features brief appearances by Sam Worthington, adding to a star-studded ensemble.
The Verdict on Lift:
Despite the film's highs, including dynamic performances from Vincent D’Onofrio and Billy Magnussen, "Lift" grapples with a questionable premise. The romantic subplot and chroma work during the climactic showdown lack depth, leaving room for improvement. In an era dominated by post-pandemic big-budget cinema, "Lift" exemplifies a trend unwilling to embrace real conversations and locations, relying heavily on CGI-driven spectacle.
"Lift" manages to take flight but encounters headwinds, struggling to soar to greater heights. While the central cast admirably embraces the absurdity, the film's reliance on CGI and an unconvincing premise may leave audiences yearning for a more authentic cinematic experience. With a rating of 3/5, "Lift" charts a course through exhilarating moments but falls short of a seamless cinematic ascent.
IMDB Rating: 5.4/10
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