Film Review: “Pursuit”

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Jake Manley and Elizabeth Ludlow
Directed by: Brian Skiba
Rated: R
Running Time: 92 minutes

It’s always easy to say there’s too many cooks in the kitchen when the end product fails. But for a film that has four writers, you would think someone would have eventually read the script and axed some of the characters, trimmed the dialogue and cleaned up the jumbling, bumbling plot. But since that didn’t happen, we’re left with “Pursuit,” a film that’s almost too difficult to explain and even more difficult to care about.

So if I understand the 92 minutes I watched correctly, Rick (Hirsch), a hacker that is the epitome of hacker film clichés, is searching for his wife who has been kidnapped by a mysterious drug cartel, off screen. But while Rick is searching, he is being hunted by Mike (Manley), a New York City detective. Mike actually arrests Rick about a third of the way into the film, setting up the rest of the film which is about Rick potentially offering up worse individuals, including Rick’s father, played by John Cusack, who may have something to do with the kidnapping of Rick’s wife.

It’s sometimes difficult to tell where this movie is supposed to take place, who is working for whom, what characters are actually important to the story and which ones have been created to simply provide an exposition dump, which is funny since the exposition dump’s don’t clear anything up, and instead complicate the plot even further. Even with all the forced twists and turns, there is no payoff at the end for the ridiculousness on screen. It’s almost as if all four writers for “Pursuit” were told four different things about what the story was about.

Compounding the messy story issues in “Pursuit,” is the insane tonal shifts. In the opening sequence alone, the film tries to tell us it’s a techno thriller, but becomes so comically inept, it makes you wonder if one writer was writing a comedy, one writer was taking it too seriously, one writer was trying to figure how many ancillary characters is too many and one writer simply believed there wasn’t enough gun play. So when the film attempts humor, and it does frequently, it comes off jarring. We’re supposed to laugh at a bystander getting shot as some kind of physical comedy, but then in a few minutes we’ll see innocent women and children leaking life force after being shot? Those two things don’t jive well in an entire film, much less in a few minutes of each other.

Almost as if he saw the writing on the wall while reading the writing in the script, John Cusack, who’s predominantly featured in this film’s marketing, seems to be on autopilot as he casually drifts from mundane scene to mundane scene, at least the ones he’s in. I also wonder how much he was actually in it and how many times they just recorded him talking and then had an extra with their back turned for the scene. When we actually know Cusack is the one on-screen, he spends most of his time reacting or talking solemnly on the phone, which tells me his contract most likely stipulated that he would only do the film if they would film it at his house in one day.

Somehow “Pursuit” is equally grotesque and boring with it’s action. As far as low-budget action movies go, “Pursuit” isn’t even worthy of being in a discount bin in Wal-Mart or ran during off-hours on one of Pluto TV’s channels. You’re better off pursuing a different movie, or even a different hobby if “Pursuit” is the only movie you have at your disposal.

Blu-ray Review “Hot Pursuit”

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Sofía Vergara, Michael Mosley, Robert Kazinsky, Matthew Del Negro, John Carroll Lynch
Director: Anne Fletcher
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Run Time: 87 minutes

Film: 1 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

“Hot Pursuit” is literally an embarrassment of a film. It is sad to say that this film stars Academy Award® winner actress Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line,” “Legally Blonde”) and Sofía Vergara, who won be over in “Chef” last year, completely lost me after this disaster. Even running less than 90 minutes, this film is painful to watch. Stay away from this unless have absolutely nothing better to do…and then still stay away.

Official Premise: In Hot Pursuit, an uptight and by-the-book cop (Witherspoon) tries to protect the sexy and outgoing widow (Vergara) of a drug boss as they race through Texas, pursued by crooked cops and murderous gunmen. The film is directed by Anne Fletcher (The Proposal) from a screenplay written by David Feeney (TV’s New Girl) and John Quaintance (TV’s Ben & Kate).

Warner Bros is delivering this film as a combo pack. The 1080p transfer is good enough and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround works as well for the action that’s here. The extras are nothing special either with three features included. “The Womance” looks into Reese and Sofía’s team-up. “Say What?” has the actresses trying to speak each others languages. “Action Like A Lady” is an action montage. Lastly there is an Alternate Ending included.

Own “Hot Pursuit” on Blu-ray Combo Pack or DVD August 11th or Own it Early on Digital HD July 28th

Film Review “Hot Pursuit”

Starring: Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 27 mins
Warner Brothers

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Rose Cooper was destined to be a police officer. The daughter of one of the city’s finest, she spent her young days riding along with her dad. In the back of the car. Whether it was to be dropped off at school or heading to the prom, Rose saw the world from behind the plexiglass safety of a patrol car. We find her now working in the evidence room, more glorified secretary that law officer, thanks to an unfortunate incident in the field which is forever known as “being Coopered.” Kind of like being “Munsoned” in “King Pin.” However, when a high ranking member of a drug cartel and his wife agree to become witnesses for the state, Rose, because the law demands it, is sent to travel with the wife. Sounds like an easy job, right?

A hilarious mixture of “The Defiant Ones” and “Midnight Run,” “Hot Pursuit” is a film that lets Reese Witherspoon, an Oscar on her mantle for playing June Carter not withstanding, do what she does best: comedy. With her “by the book” attitude and Tennessee twang, her Rose could be a close cousin of Sandra Bullock’s Sarah Ashburn from “The Heat.” Paired up with, and against, the statuesque Vergara as drug wife Daniella Riva, Witherspoon is at the top of her comedic game here. If you’re a fan of television’s “Modern Family” (guilty) then you’re already familiar with Vergara’s broad comedy chops. The Columbian actress uses them well here, though finds a few scenes to do some real emoting as well.

The script, by David Feeney and John Quaintance, has great fun with both Witherspoon and Vergara and their comedy styles. A running gag, after Rose and Daniella begun to run, is that the paper and news sources continually get their descriptions wrong, with Rose growing shorter and Daniella growing older. And of course, Daniella’s massacre of the English language (“who do you tink you are, Terlock Holmes?”). These ladies are amateur bad guys but top notch comediennes and I hope Hollywood finds a way to put them back together again soon.

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “Hot Pursuit” [ENDED]

Media Mikes has teamed up with Warner Brothers to give (10) of our readers and a guest the chance to attend the Kansas City premiere of the new comedy “Hot Pursuit,” starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara.

The screening will be held on Tuesday, May 5, at the Cinemark Palace on the Plaza in Kansas City and begins at 7:30 p.m.

All you have to do is go to to enter to win. (10) random entries will be chosen and those picked will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening. Deadline to enter is this Sunday, May 3rd. Winners will be notified via email. Good luck!