It’s hard to watch Pierce Brosnan run around in “The November Man” without imagining him from his glory 007 days, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Brosnan steps into his spy shoes once again, only this time instead of being a Brit he is an ex-CIA agent who is called out of retirement for one last job (if it sounds cliché, that’s because it is). After the rescue mission goes wrong, Brosnan is on a path for revenge; a path that will pit him against his old protégé (Luke Bracey) and right in the middle of a government conspiracy (if that sounds cliché, it’s because it is. See the pattern yet?). Roger Donaldson directs.
“The November Man” really is an interesting film. It uses every spy thriller cliché in the book, from student vs teacher to an agent being told “don’t start a family” and then promptly starting a family. However, despite all these clichés, the film still manages to implement some interesting twists, and a lot of fun, engaging action, to make it worth your time.
First things first, despite being 61 years old, Pierce Brosnan shows that he still has some fight left in him, and he can still kick some serious butt. Even though his attempt at an American accent is awkward, and completely abandoned when he yells (which is more often than you may think), he never hams up his performance, like you may see an aging action star do in “The Expendables”.
The movie’s action is top of the notch, if not at times a bit ridiculous. There are plenty of CAR CHASES! EXPLOSIONS! SHOVELS TO THE HEAD! but there are also numerous well-staged shootouts in the film. Most every one of these shootouts is built up by several minutes of cat-and-mouse tension. You don’t know when the spark is going to hit the powder keg, but when it does it results in well-shot, exciting and downright easily enjoyable fun.
What keeps “November Man” from being a better-than-average spy thriller, aside from the genre clichés, is the plot. There a few fun twists, however by the end of the film, it felt like they were trying to fit in as many “gotcha!” moments as they could. Some of the twists are more plausible than others, while one will make you groan because of how unnecessary it is.
There is also a 20 minute segment where not a bullet is fired, because the film tries to make you care about the characters (or something like that). It gets almost so dry that you just want to grab Brosnan and shout “would you shoot someone already?!”
What you expect out of “The November Man” will determine how much fun you have with it. If you want a new, fresh spy thriller with a hot young gun stealing the show, you’ll be disappointed. If you want to see well-shot action and some fun spy dialogue, like I did, then you’ve come to the right place. And if you wanted an over-the-top action film with a stupid plot and even worse script, go watch “Die Hard 5”.
Critics Rating: 6/10