Review: ‘Terminal’ deadly despite Robbie, Myers, Pegg
A talented cast goes nowhere in this twisty noir
An ultra-stylish, neon-lit noir that takes way too long to show its hand, “Terminal” is fatal.
Margot Robbie stars in this clunker as Annie, a waitress at a dead-end diner on the subway platform from hell. In the dead of night, a scummy custodian (Mike Myers under a few pounds of makeup) slinks around while various travelers wait for trains that never come.
Bill (Simon Pegg) is an English teacher trying to get home, Vince (Dexter Fletcher) and Alfred (Max Irons) are a pair of constantly bickering hitmen. All have business with Annie, who says things like “I have an unquenchable blood lust for darkness and depravity” with a semi-straight face, they just don’t know it yet.
In his writing and directing debut, Vaughn Stein shows a deep affection for pulpy trash; “Terminal” has shades of “Sin City” and “John Wick” and is lit like a dark street at 4 a.m. with buzzing neon signs in the distance.
He attracted a talented cast — Robbie is coming off of an Oscar nomination for “I, Tonya,” Mike Myers hasn’t appeared in a movie since “Inglorious Basterds” — but he doesn’t show an original voice. “Terminal” plays like he’s paying homage to seedy dime store novels rather than blazing his own path.
The ludicrous twists might be bearable if “Terminal” was having more fun with itself, but it expects viewers to choke down these revelations on face value. As one of the characters says in the overly obvious script, “you’re mad! Stark raving mad!” It’s never explicitly stated, but “Terminal” takes place in some sort of purgatory. Or maybe that’s just how it feels to watch it.
Not rated: Sexual situations, violence, language
Running time: 90 minutes
Terminal (not rated)