REVIEW — “Focus”
Based off his last couple of films I expected “Focus” to be garbage considering Will Smith hasn’t been on much of a hot streak lately, but I was wrong. Despite the fact that he and gorgeous lead Margot Robbie had ZERO chemistry, which worries me for the upcoming “Suicide Squad” film, the movie itself was still some good fun with some interesting twists. Smith is right at home as the over-confidant bad-ass that is always planning 4 steps ahead, but is a pretty face enough to throw him off his game?
It’s nice to see a thriller/drama not over-indulge, and keep a reasonable run time. The movie is a lean 104 minutes, and while they could have added more they likely would have slowed the pace down too much. In terms of character development no one but Smith gets anything worth talking about, which makes all the other characters relatively useless and expendable. While they all serve a purpose, comedic relief or otherwise, they don’t add to the value or progression of the story. I would have been perfectly ok with them adding another 10 or 15 minutes to at least give us a reason to care for the female lead. That being said, what little bit they gave us on all the characters actually came into play, and that’s somewhat rare now-a-days (surprisingly).
I really enjoyed the theme/tone of “Focus” as it ventures periodically into serious/dark areas, but gracefully pulls us back out of those areas with some exciting/funny things. Add in that there were a couple times where tension builds, and the audience is left in suspense, and you have a flick that doesn’t fall too much into the predictable formula. That being said I was able to figure out the ending, but only about 15 seconds before we are told (I must be getting slow in my old age…27 is rough…).
“Focus” as a whole is a breath of fresh air, but the leads lacked believable chemistry, and their relationship was poorly written. Everyone feels like they need to have some kind of a love arc in their story now-a-days, but a lot of times, like here, it distracts from the main goal/purpose. Aside from the poorly written characters/relationships we are given a lean and entertaining thriller that will have you guessing up until the end. This is definitely a return to form for Big Willie, and makes me long for “Bad Boys 3.” Also, Margot Robbie really proves she’ll be a kick-ass Harley Quinn when the time comes, despite lacking chemistry with Smith. 4/5