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In Action [2021] Review – Bickering, self-reflective film is unbearably amateurish

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When it comes to action films, the budget is always an essential commodity. Certain set pieces and stunts need that extra dough to really make them all the more believable and real. With “In Action” director duo Sean Kenealy & Eric Silvera want to prove that the aforementioned statements are wrong. In their audacious new film, the two directors (and the only actors in the film) set out to make an action movie on such a small budget that you would be wondering how all of this was even possible. Sadly, the film is such a sneering assault to the senses that a viewer would actually end up feeling like they should donate something to someone who came up with the idea of making something like this.




For the sake of it, the film opens with Sean (Sean Kenealy) & Eric (Eric Silvera) tied to chairs with only their underwear on them. Unlike normal people who would be scared or panic about being woken up in a super creepy, dark room, the two start slapstick-in their opinions on one another. To clue you into the madness the film is all about, one of them claims that it feels like they are on the set of “Hostel 3” before the other; cleverly cuts him off by saying that the film is already out there.

Related to In Action – MOVE THE GRAVE [2019]: ‘NYAFF’ REVIEW – AN ENDEARING DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY DRAMA

Before we go any further, the directors smartly cut to them sitting on the couch as they narrate their tale of how they got in that room in the first place. This includes half an hour of exposition where we see that two of them are married and are unhappy with their lives. They are writers who daydream about action movie scenes in their heads. They are basically dreamers who want to get back to writing movies again because that’s what they think will give their life some meaning.

In Action

However, since both of them are sexist jerks who bicker with each other, trying to bring each other down, the film spends more time to enable them to come to some kind of common ground. Cue to a single sequence of drinking and the two men are now emailing one another back and forth trying to write a screenplay about a terrorist attack at the wedding of the President of the United States. If that isn’t the most cliched action movie fodder then guess what happens next? The two of them are kidnapped by people who want to know the ending of their film so they can play out their idea in real life.




*sighs* There is no way I can critically judge this film without going meta myself. This is a movie that thinks that it is so funny and intelligent that it hi-fi’s itself at least a dozen times. I mean, I get that they don’t have money and exposition is all they can do with the material and the constraint they have imposed on themselves, but for Pete’s sake don’t make it such a shitty slog. The entire film is just two man-childs bickering about each other’s insecurities, their junk, their drinking, and how one of them has more masculine energy than the other.

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While I commend that the directors use just two locations and an overhead narration to give hope to new filmmakers who never want to make a feature film because of budget constraints, I simply feel cheated. Cheated because the fast cuts and camera tricks to make this sluggish film into an action movie fail so goddam miserably that even the most drunken-midnight-cinema-loving people would cancel this off as a lost cause.




This is not an action film, nor is it a super-meta exploration of how to make a movie on a small budget. It is, in fact, a video where two dudes self-congratulate and masturbate to their own randomness. “In Action” is probably the most futile attempt at filmmaking that I have ever seen.

Zero Stars

Trailer

In Action – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes 

 

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