REVIEW: THE ANOMALY / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: NOEL CLARKE / SCREENPLAY: SIMON LEWIS / STARRING: NOEL CLARKE, IAN SOMERHALDER, LUKE HEMSWORTH, BRIAN COX / RELEASED: JULY 4TH
The Anomaly opens with Ryan (Clarke) in the back of a van with a young child. It emerges that the child’s mother was killed by some men in red masks and that he was taken captive after that. Ryan breaks out of the van with the child as they look to make their escape. Ian Somerhalder’s Harkin gives chase to the duo. Ryan, with no memory of how he got into this situation, is soon revealed to be holding one of the aforementioned red masks. And with that, The Anomaly’s one trick is revealed. Clarke’s character only has a limited amount of consciousness before he essentially disappears and wakes up elsewhere, all the while trying to work out what exactly is going on.
As Ryan wades his way through Russian mobsters, terrorism operatives, scientists and hookers, he is trying to figure out just why this is happening to him and what the endgame of all of this is. Thanks to a convoluted mishmash of a plot, The Anomaly starts with promise but then becomes massively repetitive very quickly. Within the first 20 minutes or so, the film just seems to play the same scenes over and over but in different locations. Wake up, realise what’s happening, brawl, lose consciousness, lather, rinse, repeat. That’s pretty much the film in a nutshell.
Initially, The Anomaly has a little bit of a Quantum Leap charm to its “awakening in strange places”, and there’s even a sense of Fight Club meets The Matrix in the movie’s first few fist fights. But, as mentioned, it just becomes as repetitive as a Saturday night kebab after a few too many Newcastle Brown Ales. Every fight scene, and there are plenty, features a ridiculous overuse of slow motion techniques. It’s as if Clarke and his crew have just seen The Matrix and the whole bullet-time thing and realised how good it looks. Thing is, this isn’t 1999 and a whole host have been there, imitated that, then moved on.
As for the performances, Brian Cox is criminally underutilised as the man behind all of Ryan’s issues, Somerhalder’s eyes sparkle but his performance stumbles through the same sort of wooden territory that is usually reserved for Keanu Reeves, Clarke does well when he gets the chance to do more than just punch and wince, and the supporting performances range from annoying (Luke Hemsworth’s cocksure terrorism agent) to sultry (Alexis Knapp’s hooker-with-a-heart) to migraine-inducing bad accents (Michael Bisping’s Russian mobster).
It’s a shame that The Anomaly falls so flat so quickly. The film has a decent opening, some well-choreographed brawls, and a relatively unique premise. Sadly it suffers from trying to be too clever and from a plot that quickly becomes tiresome.
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10