I’ll always be ready to sit down and watch an Antoine Fuqua film. Now, I won’t always enjoy it, but you better believe I’ll give it a chance. Infinite, weirdly enough, slots into his wildly uneven stable of films: in that it’s near the bottom.
Generally, there is a law of diminishing returns on Fuqua projects: the more action is the focus, the less impressive the film. Infinite follows an extremely goofy premise, in that a group called “The Infinites” secretly exists apart from mankind, acquiring knowledge and power from past lives to become super-beings of sorts. It’s extremely ‘90s ham, but with all of the seriousness of 2021.
For instance, the amount of exposition in Infinite is laughable. What could have been a John Wick-esque mysterious world is granted over-explanation bomb drops into the stratosphere, including a literal voiceover at the start that explains what “Infinites” are delivered with the gusto of a disinterested party. It’s a relic out of time through and through. You can see many ‘90s and 2000s sensibilities within the framework of the filmmaking, dialogue, and performances. It has the wonder of worldbuilding of the former, but the grimdark attitude of the latter. It is not a good mix, as the two concepts clash constantly.
You can see Wahlberg practically reaching out for his paycheck on screen as the hero, and he was completely miscast for the role of Evan McCauley. During some of the sillier action scenes you can see what Fuqua was going for here, but Wahlberg completely sucks the life out of the film, with little chance of reincarnation on VOD. In a different world, we would have had the original choice of Chris Evans injecting a little personality into the absurd narrative.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, on the other hand, is an utter delight. It’s almost like Ejiofor is acting in a different film, giving it his all as the mustache-twirling “Bathurst 2020” (yes that’s a real name). The character is just so insanely written by Ian Shorr that he jumps off the screen, and there is zero-way Ejiofor didn’t put his own spin on it, assuming that Infinite would be a huge hit. No joke, this is some of the best acting I’ve seen in an action film in years.
If Infinite was released as-is roughly 30 years ago, with someone more charismatic than Wahlberg as the lead, it may have found life on DVD as a cult film. Instead, it reminds me of a poor imitation of projects like Equilibrium, but without Christian Bale and Gun Kata to propel itself past the schlock.