Movie Reviews
Freelance (2023).

Freelance Review: A Lackluster Action Comedy

Freelance is an insipid amalgamation of tired action tropes and lackluster comedy. The movie is strung together by both a paper-thin plot and an uninspired direction. From start to finish, the film is an exercise in mediocrity, offering nothing more than a jumbled mess of clichés and wooden performances.

Freelance’s plot, if it can even be called that, revolves around Mason Pettits (John Cena). Mason is a retired Special Forces operator, turned bodyguard, tasked with protecting journalist Claire Wellington (Alison Brie). Claire is on an active assignment to conduct an interview with President Juan Venegas (Juan Pablo Raba) of the fictional nation of Paldonia.  A predictable coup erupts in the nation and the trio finds themselves escaping into the jungle. Our trio then finds themselves setting off on a journey that lacks any sense of actual urgency or tension.

One of the most glaring issues with Freelance is its complete lack of originality. The film shamelessly borrows elements from countless other action comedies. The problem is that Freelance fails to introduce anything fresh or new into its narrative to help. The characters are flat-out one-dimensional. Mason Pettits is the typical brooding action hero and Claire Wellington is the worn-out damsel in distress stereotype. Even the attempt to introduce an AI-generated character falls flat, adding nothing substantial to the storyline.

Pierre Morel, once celebrated for his energetic direction in films like District 13 and Taken, delivers a shockingly lackluster performance here. The action sequences lack the adrenaline-pumping excitement that Morel was once known for. Instead, in Freelance, we see a formulaic approach that fails to deliver anything engaging to the audience. The cinematography is equally uninspired, with generic shots of the jungle failing to capture any sense of awe or wonder. The lack of cultural nuance in portraying Paldonia as a faceless, generic foreign land further highlights the film’s lazy approach to world-building.

The performances in Freelance are as lifeless as the script itself. John Cena, known for his charisma and physicality, sleepwalks through the role of Mason Pettits. His attempts at emotional depth come across as forced, and his chemistry with Alison Brie’s character is non-existent. Brie, despite her talent, is given little to work with. She’s reduced to delivering lines devoid of any genuine emotion or wit. The supporting cast, including Juan Pablo Raba, is equally forgettable, and their performances are overshadowed by the film’s lackluster writing.

The attempts at humor in Freelance are cringe-worthy at best, relying on tired jokes and awkward situations that fail to elicit genuine laughter. The romantic subplot between Mason and Claire is forced and lacks any semblance of chemistry, making it difficult to invest in their relationship or care about their fate.

Freelance is a prime example of how not to make an action comedy film. It lacks originality, energy, and emotional depth, resulting in a viewing experience that is both tedious and forgettable. For audiences seeking a genuinely entertaining and well-crafted action comedy, Freelance is a hard pass. Save your time and money for a film that offers something more than a haphazard assembly of tired clichés and uninspired performances.

Freelance Review: A Lackluster Action Comedy
  • Acting - 3/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 3/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 2/10
  • Setting/Theme - 3/10
  • Watchability - 2/10
  • Rewatchability - 1/10
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