Script-O-Meter rating: 3
The Hero of the story is a man whose wife was murdered while doing a “bust” (she was a cop). His Goal in the story is to find the people who are doing bank jobs, where people have been “executed” – It appears, therefore, that the heists are “personal.” The first pages of the script get off to a rip-roaring start with the genre that audiences have come to see: Thriller/Action/Crime. The Story World is film noir/dark/intense/ sophisticated/tense.
What happens after the first 10 pages is a mess of a script for the following reasons: First, the form of the story is branching, as opposed to linear. ie. We are taken to at least 3 or 4 scenes of a cop with a wife who is dying of cancer. For a t.v. serial, we could delve into this sub-plot, but for a thriller, it slows the pace down and takes the audience totally off-track; one scene would have been enough.
Then, the F.B.I. Hero goes to visit a man in prison – This is connected to how his wife was murdered. Again, we are taken on another branch that deviates from the Hero’s Goal. This scene should have been edited out. The use of flashback to actually “tell” the story is a no-no in script writing. We are taken off track by going backwards instead of forward. For this genre, it was a big mistake to show many scenes of military actions to sum up a character’s back story.
Big problem is also this: The Main Opponent needs to block obsessively whatever the Hero is attempting to achieve. There should be a punch-counter-punch between Hero and Opponent: There is none. As a result, the Opponent seems lethargic; his lines are ridiculous; he is basically in one or two locations just standing around with “filler dialogue,” totally unbelievable.
WHY is he the Opponent of the Hero?? What is the motivation of this Opponent? What is HIS Goal? Why? None of these questions are answered because of the following reason: The PLOT was heavy with disconnected, disjointed turns and branches.
The Opponent was “inserted” into the Plot as if he were a toy doll that needed to fulfill a script requirement. The writer did not take the time to give this character a 3D persona.
It’s a shame that the script didn’t deliver for this exciting story idea or High Concept Premise. It got muddled and caught in a web of plot branches that should never have been there. The audience was confused by all the machinations. For a t.v. series, this plot heavy story would have satisfied 24 separate episodes. But for a feature film of Thriller/Action/Crime, the Plot turns took the audience off the Narrative Drive of the story and was confusing as well.
Christopher Meloni was superb as the Hero. He’s been so typecast for so long – He could be another Robert de Niro if he’d get the parts with the depth he’s capable of playing. Bruce Willis in this story was how it got produced. But unfortunately, his role was weak; dialogue ridiculous; character development written with no real character arc.
The actor miscast was the F.B.I. agent, who was a special forces guy- The actor was skinny; kind of runt-like; so not like a guy who has to be in top shape. He did the best he could with the dialogue, but the part was just not for him. The Hero’s sidekick “wrestler” played his part with some sense of humor – More humor in this type of genre would have been great, had it been written into the script. The Hero could have had a dry sense of cynicism and world-weary, wise-cracking type of personality. It would have made for a much tenser Narrative Drive. Again, the actors did the best they could with a script that lacked key ingredients. Really a shame.