The Last Days of American Crime (dir. Olivier Megaton, 2020) – As a final response to rampant crime in the country, the US government plans to broadcast a signal that makes unlawful acts impossible to commit.
Set in the near future, the US government plans to implement the American Peace Initiative nationwide. The fancily named API is essentially a neural blocker, which will send a signal to the brain of any citizen attempting to commit a crime.
Picture A Clockwork Orange, but scrap any intent for social commentary. In fact, scrap logic, wit and plot till there is nothing left but the bare bones of the sci-fi concept. Now, the stage is set. Enter the villains.
Out to game the system is Kevin Cash (Michael Pitt), the unstable son of a crime lord. He has in mind America’s final heist before API comes into play – for the sole sake of proving his worth to his father. Career criminal Graham Bricke (Édgar Ramírez) jumps in to help despite the absence of a real plan, not before falling in love with Cash’s fiancé Shelby Dupree (Anna Brewster).
Never mind the minute-old, unearned romance. A taut 90-minute heist is all we ask for. But that is not what The Last Days of American Crime has for us. The actual story clocks in a massive 150 minutes, building upon a much more convoluted mess that deserves no explanation.
It doesn’t help that the heist is not particularly clever. The motions suffer from witless exchanges between a brooding Bricke and a volatile Cash, who screams about his ruined Armani wear every chance he gets. During which, Shelby slips into the role of a sex object instead of a femme fatale, who accepts physical and mental abuse by the men in her life.
As if to distract us from the sexism and general dullness of the lead trio, the director of Taken 2, Taken 3 and Transporter 3 then begins to replicate his other area of expertise. Olivier Megaton brings on a mindless series of over-the-top car chases, just about an hour too late, and also way too loud and chaotic to be comprehensible.
As you look to your clock and see that there is still an hour to go, you gradually realise that you’ve been played. All you had ever wanted was a good crime movie. But the only crime that this movie truly accomplished, is the movie itself.
Instead of incapacitating its fictional citizens for their ill-defined crimes, this Netflix original simply incapacitates its real world audiences mentally. Be warned about the slew of more cinematic crimes still to come.