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No Good Deed

September 18, 2014

No Good Deed (* ½)

You know you’re in trouble when a film’s studio decides, at the last moment, to cancel its pre-release screenings of a film. And so it goes with the so-called thriller, No Good Deed.  On the eve of its advertised screening for critics, the studio sent out a memo advising that it had been decreed by the powers that be that the film not be screened in advance for fear of revealing its surprise ending. When one finally sees the film they’ll most likely wish the film’s release had been canceled as well. As for the much-ballyhooed twist, well a five year old could probably figure it out.

Idris Elba is an actor who’s constantly proved himself capable in such diverse fare as last year’s Oscar nominee, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Pacific Rim and the 2012 entry, Prometheus.

Idris Elba in the #1 movie in the country

Here he just seems to be phoning it in. In the film he’s escaped con Colin Evans who’s decided to hightail it to Atlanta after his departure from a Tennessee prison. A former prosecutor living alone with her daughter and played by Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson offers shelter to Evans and we know it won’t be long before things turn nasty. Just how nasty? Well, that’s for those brave souls willing to spend their hard-earned money on this turkey to find out, as I won’t reveal it here. Let’s just say it all hinges on the fact Evans seems to know an awful lot about the woman who’s taken him in.

If you’re willing and brave enough to slog your way through the film, you might find enough diversion to keep you engaged enough to stay minimally awake. That’s really about the most for which you can hope. More astute film fans, of course, will pick up on the all too obvious fact that No Good Deed is just cribbing its bag of tricks from the great Martin Scorsese’s 1991 remake of Cape Fear.

Unfortunately, the difference is that there’s very little tension and none of the style or nuance that made that film so memorable. Director Sam Miller, whose resume is littered with such praiseworthy gems (tongue firmly planted in cheek here) as Krakatoa: The Last Days, Murder City and Among Giants, directs the film with the flair of a person afflicted with a sleep disorder of some sort. Perhaps it’s just as well because the second rate script gives him little with which to work.

No Good Deed is just another exhibit in the ongoing argument as to why people aren’t going to the movies anymore. When, some three weeks into September, this is one of only two new releases you can find in multiplexes the question is, can you really blame them?

This movie is at the Carmike in Hickory, and other area theaters.  

Questions or comments? Write Adam at




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