Orlando Bloom stars in The Shanghai Job, a Chinese action flick that casts him as disgraced private security agent Danny Stratton, who attempts to stop history from repeating itself when a priceless antique vase he is tasked with protecting is stolen. The shock twist? It’s the same gang of thieves responsible for his previous failure.
Directed by Charles Martin (Skins, Being Human), The Shanghai Job is on the whole an ineffectual action movie, employing every tried and tested genre cliche from a shopping list of painfully dull plot contrivances. The car chases, fights and explosions are nothing to write home about – jumping from one yawn-inducing action set piece to another with little rhyme nor reason (beside the need to pad out a plot that could be over and done with in less then half the running time), the direction lacks energy and falls pretty flat early on.
The script isn’t much better either – chock full of awful exposition, clunky dialogue and barely a well-rounded character in the bunch, not to mention plot twists you’ll see coming a mile off. Not that it really matters – the main plot is so devoid of anything to hold interest that any self-respecting audience member would have switched off long before the third act. If you can suffer through the pretentious, pointless opening voiceover about ‘time’ without having an aneurysm, then you are truly a marvel of modern medical science!
The characters range from dull to annoying with little in-between. Bloom‘s performance is about as uninspiring as they come, putting on his best OTT hard-nut cockney voice and keeping his tone and demeanour at the same uninterested level from start to finish. The rest of the cast are hardly any better, but to be fair to them, they haven’t exactly been given much to work with aside from stereotypical action movie banter and rubbish one-liners.
Brain-meltingly boring from the off, The Shanghai Job plays out like a rubbish student film with a big budget. Unoriginal and lacking in any genuine spectacle, it’s content to simply riff off of other action-heist films that do this sort of thing so much better. Full of uninspiring performances, a hackneyed script full of awful dialogue, lazy plotting, and direction that plays it way too safe, we’ll have to consider this job a bust!