film reel image

film reel image

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Those Who Wish Me Dead 2021 * * * Stars


"Give them something else to worry about". Uh yeah, a blaze moving like a freight train will do it.

Anyway, in 2021's Those Who Wish Me Dead, Angelina Jolie plays a smoke jumper who doesn't do a lot of smoke jumping. I mean Jolie as Hannah Faber is a little miscast here. She growls and gets through it but it feels like she landed the role because she's well, uber-famous.

So yeah, Those Who Wish Me Dead is a street brawler action-er that combines wildfires and no man's land with hitmen shootouts. It's tense, it's unforgiving, and the professional killer characters are the real stars. They are calculated, they are business-like, and one of them keeps getting up like he has extra lives in a darn video game.

Directed by the guy that made Wind River (Taylor Sheridan) and taking place in Montana (it was actually filmed in New Mexico), Those Who Wish Me Dead has probably the coolest title in the history of movies. I mean that and To Live and Die in L. A.

"Dead" for all its post-COVID liveliness, is about firefighter Hannah Faber (Jolie). Faber has to protect a teenage murder witness from two relentless assassins. The whole flick is set to the backdrop of the forestry wilderness along with a fire that was actually started by the assassins themselves (that's one big distraction). Innocent people get murdered, there's a little mano-a-mano, and you get to see Tyler Perry make a blinked cameo (he plays a subdued mob boss).

Bottom line: Those Who Wish Me Dead is balls-out, intimidating, and sloppily action-packed. I'm gonna recommend it despite its smidgen of concluding implausibility (how could a humongous forest fire stop completely overnight?). If you weren't alive when 1993's Cliffhanger came out, then "Dead" might be a formidable alternative. Heck, see both movies if you "wish".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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