Robbie K here with more reviews coming at you this weekend. This time we focus on the latest Thriller entitled No Good Deed starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson. Thrillers these days are a bit of a wild card, often filled with very linear plots that are sacrificed for brutal and bloody kills. Yet occasionally one movie comes along to break the trend and stand out from the crowd. With Mr. Elba on point, I had hopes that this movie would be one of those exceptions. Was it? Read on to find out.
The plot for No Good Deed, as told by the trailer, is that Colin (Elba) is a felon wanted for murder. Somehow, through an impressive display of skills, he escapes his confines and winds up at the home of Terri (Henson) who is conveniently the only adult at home. Now the sociopathic Colin is out to use Terri for his own means, which remain a mystery. I know the plot is cliché and the truth is this tale is one that we have seen time and time again. Throughout the whole movie you know where the plot is going, trying to stomach the idiotic choices Terri makes at the beginning of the movie to make the plot logical. However, surprisingly there is a nice twist that helps make things a little cleverer, and a little less convenient timing.
Despite the surprise twist though, the story for the most part was boring, including the suspense that was supposed to be in the movie. For a thriller, No Good Deed lacked any real edge to the movie, often due to the fact that both Colin and Terri made some rather poor choices. Very few times in the movie did I actually feel myself somewhat tense up, and that wasn’t until the very end with the “exciting climax”. You would think there would be gradual build-up of tension, but in this movie everything has already come to a near boil, with Colin on edge from the very start. Such lack of development in the character makes for again a boring tale that makes you seriously consider if this is a thriller.
Instead the character development comes in the form of Terri, the supposed damsel in distress. The directors put major focus on the woman, evolving her character from the dependent wife to an empowered independent woman over the span of an hour and half. Terri’s fight to survive is explained in a very simple, though realistic, back-story that sets the stage for her cleverness and ingenuity. Her trial is faced not with super powers, or fictitious weapons, but intelligent decisions, strategy, and well placed items that happen to be blunt and/or sharp. Her inner strength should empower the audience, it did in my theater at least when a majority clapped at certain points in the movie. It is nice to see a woman with such strengths outside a Disney movie, helping to divert from the typical damsels you see in these films. Unfortunately the only thing that counters this is the well-placed items that provide endless, and comedic, opportunities for her to hit Colin with. Parts that were supposed to be serious, I was laughing at the cheesiness of the scene thinking, as to quote my fellow movie goer, “It’s a good thing that one lady had all that crap laying around!” Regardless, Terri was the more interesting part of the tale when it came to suspense and thrill.
However, even though Terri is the more suspenseful part of the story, it is Elba that is the strongest component of this movie for me. I have enjoyed Elba’s past work, impressed with his ability to play his characters, though most of them are the same person with a little twist. Elba does a great job at playing the deranged convict, capturing the quite intensity and innocence that a narcissistic killer uses. His deep voice helps bring the menacing threat he imposes, allowing his character as a whole to be the threat. Even when he loses his criminal cool, Elba doesn’t go into an overacted rage of unleashed emotion, which is reminiscent of the Hulk. Elba’s strong delivery is what keeps you engaged in his character, despite the lackluster build up and story to help support the character. His chemistry with Henson was rather good, which I suppose was a needed thing since the two of them were pretty much the whole film. While not the greatest, they did a decent job playing off each other’s attitudes, in particular Henson’s reactions to Elba’s creepy silence.
Overall No Good Deed is a rather boring thriller, with very little suspense and twist. The acting is solid between the two main actors, but it is not enough to justify an hour and a half of theater time. My recommendations are to skip this movie and wait for next weekend’s big releases, or go watch another horror movie that gave you chills. My scores for this movie are:
Movie Overall: 5.5