We’ve spent some time taking a look at the creme of the crop on everyone’s favourite premiere streaming service but like every rose that has its thorns, Netflix is not immune to stinkers. These are properties that Netflix have produced and have shown diminishing returns for their faithful subscribers. The kind of shows that peaked our interest before kicking us in the nutsack because of how abysmally underwhelming they are. Time is precious and you deserve to make the most of life and not waste an hour of your life watching something only to realize it sucks. To spare you that agony, we took at look this week at some of the most disappointing films available on Netflix. Whether out of misguided direction or half-baked execution, these are the films that have left us leaving wanting. Either for a better script, director or time machine. So get your IMDB ratings ready and block buttons holstered because here are five shows you shouldn’t fall for on your Netflix binge! Also spoilers ahead but honestly that’s the least of our concerns.
The Defenders (2017) – TV Series
Don’t let the flashy trailers and edgy Nirvana remixes fool you, The Defenders is by far one of the biggest disappointments of 2017. If you’ve been following Marvel’s Daredevil TV series, then you know that throughout the seasons, there have been huge hints of a great war coming. Everything was set up to make this happen from Elektra’s reveal as the Black Sky, a sort of messiah for the assassin group known as the Hand, to her death and eventual resurrection to the alliance between the various heroes’ villains. I even endured a season of Iron Fist for this! And what did we get? We get a few skirmishes between a bunch of hired thugs, some of them quite well done to be fair, a team up that took way too long to mean anything and a formulaic finale that squandered any potential it had of expanding the street-level Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Here’s the thing. A lot of the flaws of The Defenders could have been overlooked if the characters at least had good chemistry. Beyond the pre-established relationship between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, there honestly wasn’t a lot of character development going on throughout the show. Iron Fist is just rattling on about how he is destined to defeat the Hand and his role in the series seems to just be there for everyone to take a shit on. While Matt’s life post-Daredevil reveal is certainly a story arc worth exploring, it doesn’t necessarily fit into the wider narrative at play here. Also, his constant rebuffs about how the four of them are not a team get pretty old after awhile.
Speaking of acts that get pretty old, Jones’ constant “whatever I’ll play along” schtick wore me down by the fourth episode. The jaded, boozed out cavalier tone she brings works better in her solo series than it does in this limited ensemble piece. Luke Cage, you ask? He’s just happy to be here. The Defenders is a show with far too few bright spots to warrant a genuine watch with far too many characters who don’t want to be there. They can leave as they came.
Cloverfield Paradox (2018) – Movie
Though tied by loose association, I was enjoying the films from the ever-growing Cloverfield film franchise. In spite of 10 Cloverfield Lane riding off the nostalgic coattails of its popular predecessor to garner more views, it was still a fairly enjoyable cabin film. Still, I struggled to comprehend its connection to the original. The supposed answer to this conundrum is The Cloverfied Paradox. A film that would help fill in some of the gaps between the two films and hopefully propel this franchise forward. And while the film does provide answers to some burning questions, they’re often half-truths that beg for even more questions!
In summary, a bunch of scientists are trying to harness a new of form energy using their particle accelerator but have inadvertently travelled through parallel dimensions that allow monsters to come into our world. Sound simple enough? That’s fine until they decide to start breaking their own timeline! Near the end of the film, it is implied that the events of Paradox directly correlate with Cloverfield. The problem is the monster didn’t emerge until much later after the satellite crash in Cloverfield and it was never that freaking bad as to rise above the clouds. Also, how does this connect to 10 Cloverfield Lane? Basically, all it did was confused the shit of out fans with a needless twist.
Admittedly there are some moments of brilliance in the film, especially during some pretty tight and thrilling space sequences. The cast here tries to make the most out of the material given them, especially Gugu Mbatha-Raw as British Communications officer Ava Hamilton. The problem is the film is so focused on trying to set up its Cloververse that it leaves very little room for us to engage with the characters on screen or better understand the background. I would like to have a little more time to get to know Daniel Bruhl’s Ernst Schmidt or the alternate timeline hopping Australian Mina Jensen but the film never bothered to develop many its characters. The Cloverfield Paradox has committed one of the great cardinal sins of cinema: Show, don’t tell. If you’re not a fan of Cloverfield, skip this film and if you are, stay even farther away from it.
Bright (2017) – Movie
Director David Ayer has built a reputation of creating gritty and grounded with interesting characters and stylish action. Some of his best work being End of Watch and Fury, and even when they’re not exactly award-winning, films like SWAT still manage at least entertain. After receiving poor receptions for Suicide Squad, Ayer needed to prove himself as an auteur once again, showing the world that he still had what it takes to be in this industry. Unfortunately, his latest action-fantasy cop drama, Bright has only managed to reveal the depths in which the man can sink. The world of Bright though interesting at first glance, proves to be relatively shallow and underdeveloped. Believe or not, you can’t just slap a bunch of graffiti paintings and random street signs with the word “ELVES ONLY” on them and have us believe that elves, orcs and wizards have been living together with a man for 2000 years. Especially when so much of their reality resembles ours. That’s just lazy.
A lot of the film deals with the systemic racism that orcs face due to the fact that they sided with The Dark Lord, who is an elf mind you, and are therefore viewed as a traitor race. And yet at the same time, the hero that saved the world the Dark Lord’s tyranny was an orc known as Jirak. If that’s the case, why are they being hated? One might assume that dominant culture would fit within a more orcish setting right? Unfortunately, we are never given any explanation as to why this isn’t so. Instead, the film chooses this strange tone-deaf approach of juxtaposing orcs as a mythical substitute of impoverished inner-city African Americans and the elves as the elitist white minority.
Don’t look to the characters here to save the show, Will Smith’s Officer Daryl Ward and Joel Edgerton’s Nick Jakoby, Ward’s Orc partner, have absolutely no business being together! Their chemistry is just awful and mean-spirited, it mostly consists of Ward putting Jakoby and the latter being a bumbling idiot. At the end of the day, it feels like both of them are just phoning it in, admittedly Edgerton gives a little more effort than his counterpart. Initially, this was marketed as Lord of the Rings meets Training Day, I can honestly say you’re better off watching the other two. At least none of them have lazy worldbuilding, misguided race allegories and actors who don’t give a shit.
Stop me, if you’ve heard this one. When a young boy living in London named Tom is shot in the head by a group of thugs, he suddenly finds that he has received the power to manipulate and hear phone transmissions. This is due to a phone shrapnel…being lodged in his head. Normally, that would just cause serious brain damage but sure let’s just suspend our disbelief for a second. Finding out his high school sweetheart, Lucy has been raped by the group of delinquents, mild-mannered Tom Harvey must take the law into his own hands. He shall no longer be a boy, he will be iBoy. Holy crap, what an amazingly ridiculous premise. At first, I thought this was some sort of joke. Maybe it’s a form of satirical commentary on how hyperconnected we are to the internet and devices. 15 minutes into the film and I had forsaken that notion. This film is trying to actually be a genuine techno-vigilante action thriller film.
While I’m all for a minimalist approach to filmmaking, there are times when iBoy looks and sounds like a direct-to-DVD movie that you’d pick up at Speedy. The camerawork here is uninspiring, moving from static shot to static shot. The effects that the film uses to illustrate iBoy’s cyber abilities are absolutely pitiful. At best, they’re concise and clear and at worst they’re distracting. Then there’s the script. The dialogue in this film feels like it was lifted straight out of a high school short film. It thinks itself so clever for having proposed that information technology can be used as a weapon. Ordinary things like group chats and recording capabilities are dramatically played up as extraordinary powers. They’re not. It feels like somebody over 60 wrote this film. It certainly doesn’t help this film that the protagonist is literally learning how to hack to putting in tacky search results like “hacking” or “how to”.
Barring Maisie Wiliams’ best efforts to elevate the script through performance, most of the cast here are forgettable. The ones that aren’t, stick out for all the wrong reasons. Bill Milner as iBoy feels wooden and inorganic, as if he’s still auditioning for the part he’s supposed to play. I’m not sure why Netflix thought it was a good idea to have their name to this and I suppose it’ll forever a mystery. iBoy? I can do without.
The Ridiculous 6
Please Netflix, you’re so much better than this! This is by far one of the most lowbrow, unintelligent, underwhelming film in the whole of the Netflix catalogue! This is a new low, even for Adam Sandler, the visionary who brought such critically panned classics as Little Nicky, Grown Ups 2 and Jack and Jill. As for the plot, this poorly conceived spoof of the Magnificent 7 sees White Knife (played by Sandler) and his five half-brothers, heading out into the wild west in search of their lost father. The joke here is that all of them are from diverse ethnic backgrounds, or should I say caricatures.
At times, I can see the film trying its best to parody some of the more popular tropes of American westerns but they never quite land, partly due to the fact that they don’t actually say much about the genre beyond “that’s stupid”. Most of it is because of the inept and painfully predictable comedic timing and delivery of the humour in this film. Oh wow, the donkey that the uppity racist banker was mocking and shoving at its rear decided to launch a barrage of poop at him, that’s definitely a shocker. The jokes themselves aren’t particularly clever or well-written, save for perhaps one bit on the invention of baseball, and they often overstay their welcome.
Well if I’m not having fun, at least the rest of the cast seems to be. Sandler’s gang consists of Rob Schneider, Terry Crews, Luke Wilson, Jorge Wilson and Taylor Lautner. Bless their souls if they thought half of the ad-libbed lines in the films were worth a chuckle. The only person I found of slight novelty in this gang of misguided miscreants was Taylor Lautner the local town moron, Lil Pete Stockburn. It’s just so unlike the ever brooding, serious Lautner to inhabit such a downright dimwitted role. He clearly needed a break from the world YA book adaptations, that’s for sure.
The Ridiculous 6 ought to be a wake-up call to Netflix, to at least be a tad more discerning in the properties they decide to invest in. Sandler fans may get a slight kick out of this but for the rest of us, this film is best enjoyed hammered or after a few good viewings of The Twilight: Saga New Moon.
There you have it, five shows on Netflix you should avoid like the plague. There are plenty of excellent shows that deserve your attention. So in the future, if you’re looking to spare yourself from shawty media choices or perhaps morbidly curious, be sure to keep this list in mind.
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