Term Life

Having a discussion of better movies

TERM LIFE, a non-starter from 2016, earned the fate of being given a token theatrical release (taking in a whopping $89,546) before being shunted to video-on-demand. Here people may stumble upon it and give it a go because of the cast, then end up wondering why they all signed on to it in the first place. A few chuckles and gunfights, and an overdose of familiarity—dad & daughter bonding through bullets, corrupt cops, a cartel, chases, one-liners….

Professional thief ‘Nick Barrow’ (Vince Vaughan, with an odd haircut) sets up heists that others undertake, but his latest one goes bad, then gets worse, when the crew is hijacked by a team of rotten cops. A Mexican cartel wants the missing money: murders are blamed on Nick; he’s hunted by police and gangsters. Complicating his flight is the presence 16-year-old daughter ‘Cate’ (Hailee Steinfeld) with whom he has a toxic relationship. Maybe sharing danger will change that.

Jonathan Banks has been here and done that

Partly out of situational boredom and because I’m always impressed by Steinfeld, I gave this 93 minutes of my life term. Along with the two squabbling relatives, the plotline throws in jobs for Bill Paxton, Jonathan Banks, Jordi Molla, Jon Favreau, Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Shea Whigham, Mike Epps and Annabeth Gish. A swell crew, let down by a weak project.

Written by Andy Lieberman, who adapted his graphic novel (you have been warned), directed by Peter Billingsley: in both instances the work feels like an afterthought. Gets increasingly hard to swallow: only the actors give it any passing interest.

Kid’s a fast learner. Dad will be so proud.


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