No Good Deed
No Good Deed
Director: Sam Miller
Writer: Aimee Lagos
Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Idris Elba, Leslie Bibb, Kate del Castillo, Henry Simmons, Frank Brennan, Kenny Alfonso, Mirage Moonschein, Wilbur Fitzgerald, Kelly O'Neal, Tatom Pender, Dolan Wilson, Dan Caudill, Yamanee Coleman, Gregory Cook
Synopsis: An unstable escaped convict terrorizes a woman who is alone with her two children.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, menace, terror, and for language
5 / 10
- Idris Elba's performance was great
- Excellent premise
- Taraji P. Henson gave a solid performance
- Weak script
- Supporting characters aren't written particularly well
- The story falls under too many cliches to be original
- The kids' reactions were unrealistic
- Child actors weren't believable in their performances.
"No Good Deed" had the potential to be great film, but it falls tragically short on it's execution
"No Good Deed" has lately become the neighborhood punching bag among film critics these days, as it's already garnered a lower critic score on "Rotten Tomatoes" than any of the infamous Michael Bay directed "Transformers" films. Ouch! Does that mean "No Good Deed" is nothing more than a pile of s*** that's unworthy of Idris Elba's talents? Or merely a film that's being judged too harshly?
Please take in mind that just because the majority of critics are bashing this film that we shouldn't automatically dismiss "No Good Deed" as a bad movie. Take in mind other such classics like "Citizen Kane" were once bashed by film critics upon it's theatrical release. In fact, many critics hated that film, yet the irony is that decades later people are now declaring it arguably the greatest film of all time. The same can be said of the classic 1939 "Wizard of Oz" film.
That movie wasn't particularly welcomed by most critics either, and it wasn't even a box office success upon it's theatrical release. Decades later though, it's gone on to become one of the greatest films in history. Therefore, I'd like to remind all my readers that just because film critics are bashing a movie that it doesn't mean they're right, as it's only their opinions.
"No Good Deed" may not be a masterpiece, but it's fairly decent for what it tries to be. The story centers around a man named Colin Evans (Idris Elba), who happens to be a serial killer that's been in jail for a few years due to domestic violence. Colin is proven to be highly intelligent and resourceful. However, he's also been prone to narcissism and a bit of a inferiority complex as well.
After breaking out jail, he manages to get a hold of one of his ex girlfriends, and kills her because she's moved on with her life. Savagely beating her to death with his bare hands. It's during these intense moments that you can see Idris Elba at his best. The glimmer of terror in his eyes, as you see his soul filled with nothing but pure hatred. It's both interesting and scary to watch at the same time. Idris Elba does a wonderful job playing the devious psychopath that's cunning, arrogant, manipulative and emotionally repressed. One moment, Idris will come off as the most charming person in the world, but he'll rip your head off if you p*** him off. It's interesting to see Idris take on such a role, but it's sad the rest of the movie couldn't live up to it's potential.
After the first act, Idris somehow finds his way to a suburban home up the street. The residents living there is a young African American family. The husband is allegedly away on a trip to see his father, which leaves the family alone for the night. Terri (Taraji P. Henson) is a full time housewife/mother, who craves for more attention from her husband, who rarely has time for her these days.
Through an intricate series of events, Colin somehow manages to find his way into the house; which in turn causes a chain of events that put her family in mortal danger. The film tries to serve as this deep captivating story about domestic violence, but it fails miserably.
The supporting characters are one dimensional, and lack any kind of definitive personalities outside of being generic stereotypes. The kids' reactions to the situations throughout this film were unrealistic, and it doesn't help when you can tell the child actors obviously can't act too well.
Not to mention, this film falls into almost every cliche in the book, when it comes to these type of films. Don't get me wrong, "No Good Deed" certainly isn't terrible, as it's way better than most of the critics are giving it credit for. Idris Elba and Taraji both give command performances that carry the film; in spite of having a weak script to work off of.
I do think there's a lot of deep story possibilities one can derive off domestic violence problems in the US, but "No Good Deed" fails to take advantage of it. Instead, it settles for cheap cliches, and offers little in terms of originality. Heck, even the moral of the damn film gets subverted by one of Terri's actions around the end of the movie that it's almost sad to watch.
Overall, I would say "No Good Deed" is worth checking out on Netflix, but I wouldn't bother seeing it in a theater.
© 2014 Steven Daniels