The Matador

Bomb Rating: 

This movie has been getting way too much good press. I mean, c'mon. There's nothing original about having Pierce Brosnan play a washed up assassin and there's nothing original about having Greg Kinnear play a schlub. Brosnan is riffing on his 007 role, and Kinnear is hardly doing anything at all.

The idea here is that Julian Noble (Brosnan) is losing his shit. He's been in the assassin game too long and he's starting to make mistakes. He wants out. He meets Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear) in Mexico and tries to strike up a friendship. Julian is a guy with no friends and Danny is a guy who's scared of life and scared of taking chances, due in no small part to the death of his son. So, quite obviously, each one serves a vital role in providing that one thing the other needs. Julian needs a friend. Danny needs some reason to embrace life again. They come together. Everyone is happy.

After parting ways in Mexico, Julian shows up at Danny's home in Denver and surprises Danny and Danny's wife, Bean (Hope Davis), and what ensues is another situation made solely for the movie. In other words, the characters are in this film to service the script. Nothing really happens organically. The characters don't drive the film, though writer/director Richard Shepard would like the audience to think so. Instead, you can practically hear Shepard saying pre-script: "Wouldn't it be fun if a regular guy became friends with an assassin who was losing his shit?" The film seems like little more than an underdeveloped idea.

Of course, Brosnan's character is meant to be compared to James Bond, and the contrast gives the film a false sense of realism. Oh, it's grittier, but anything is grittier than James Bond. And if you're wondering about the title, sure "The Matador" is meant to be a metaphor, but it's not compelling enough to waste any time thinking about, so I won't.

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