by John Hawkins | October 18, 2002 11:01 pm
Formula 51 Mini-Review: I decided to catch the new Samuel Jackson flick, “Formula 51” in which Jackson plays a chemist who has developed a powerful mind-altering drug that is made up entirely of legal ingredients. Jackson wants to sell the formula to a drug kingpin and retire but things soon go horribly awry.
I generally like Samuel Jackson’s work and I figured the movie would be a mindless yet fun action romp sort of like “XXX”, “The Scorpion King”, or “The Transporter.” So I wasn’t exactly expecting Shakespeare when I headed into the theater. But “Formula 51” was one of the worst movies I’ve seen this year.
The big problem with the movie was that every character you met in the movie was either a drug dealer, a thug, a crook, an assassin or a general sleazeball which made it very difficult to like any of the characters. In some movies (“Payback” comes immediately to mind), the acting and script is good enough to overcome characters who might normally be unsympathetic. Unfortunately, the scriptwriter seemed to believe that simply giving all the main characters weird quirks made them interesting enough to keep the audience’s attention for an hour and a half. Samuel Jackson’s boring and lackluster character wore a kilt — whoop de doo! His “sidekick” for most of the movie really wanted to a big soccer game the next day — uh, OK. There was also an assassin who notable only because she was female. None of them had anything interesting to say or gave you any reason to care if they lived or died.
When you combine that with a lackluster plot and very routine action sequences you come up with a movie that’s actually difficult to watch all the way through. In fact, I almost got up and left a couple of times because I was so bored with the movie. Come to think of it, this is probably the worst movie I watched until the end since Leonardo Dicaprio’s “The Beach.” Avoid this movie like the plague — thumbs down.
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