It seems that the movie “Freelance” failed to restore the myth of the American super-soldier that was shaped by Hollywood over decades, as the modest revenues locally and internationally translated into this failure to achieve $8 million, despite its production cost amounting to $40 million. The biggest crisis came in his critical evaluation, which was like a joke, as he received a score of 0 on the specialized website “Rotten Tomatoes”.
Hollywood was able to draw the features of American soldiers with legendary combat and moral abilities in the last century, especially through the films of Sylvester Stallone, who presented the soldier “Rambo” through 6 parts, which began in 1982, and ended with the sixth part in 2019, and revolved around the frustrated fighter returning from Vietnam, Which alone becomes an army that fights corruption and gangs of America’s enemies.
The presence of a famous and beloved wrestler like John Cena tempted Hollywood producers to repeat the old method of work that had succeeded with former champions who broke into cinema through the portal of physical sports, so came the movie “Freelance” by French director Pierre Morel, which has been showing since last October 27, and its events revolve around a soldier. An American is injured, his colleagues are killed, and he is discharged from the army, but he cannot adapt to his new reality, so he searches for heroism.
The creators of the work ignored the impact that the passage of half a century since the beginning of the legend of the American soldier could have on Hollywood, and they took the adventure with a work that combined frivolity and negligence, and fulfilled the saying of one of the heroes of the work, which states that “failure to prepare is preparation for failure.”
Journalist and bodyguard
The film revolves around television journalist Claire Wellington (Alison Brie), who decides to interview African dictator Venegas (Joan Pablo Raba). The journalist enlists the help of bodyguard Mason Petits (John Cena), who was previously a member of the US Army Special Forces, to provide insurance for her during the trip, but a military coup occurs in the country of “Baldonia” during the press interview, forcing the journalist, her bodyguard, and the president to escape into a nearby forest. .
Despite his popularity as a wrestler, Cena does not have a real presence in front of the camera, and his features in his role as Mason Petits appeared rigid, ranging between two endless expressions: anger, and the expression of pain resulting from his exposure to injuries and beatings from his opponents.
The performance of Cena, who was injured and his colleagues were killed in Baldonia, did not change since he set foot there, and even after he learned the truth about his mission, which was to assassinate President Venegas, he remained as he was, with his rigid features like a wax statue, his desperate attempts at mockery as a comedy, and the screaming performance and angry voice as an expression of his anger at the killer of his colleagues.
As for Alison Brie, she was not tested on the acting level, so her scenes were closer to light comedy, and perhaps the only actor who gave a diverse performance – spoiled by the scenario – is Juan Pablo Raba in the role of Dictator Venegas, as his emotions varied between anger, satisfaction, and condescension, and he was able to penetrate to the depth of The role is relatively better than others.
It is easy to identify the changes that occurred in the scenario before settling on the final version. Despite the presence of Jacob Leibniz’s name on the film’s panels, what appeared on the screen confirms that many hands tampered with the scenario, as there appears to be room for serious dealing with the attempts of major companies to exploit Third World countries and plunder Its wealth, through financing military coups and other obvious things.
But the comedic framework that tried to embody part of the situation of the movie “The Dictator,” produced in 2012 by director Larry Charles, is clear in building the character of President Venegas.
Despite the changes that made the scenario a heterogeneous composition, simplicity prevailed, as many scenes and situations were copied from previous films, especially those starring ambassadors of the American soldier in the world, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.
Despite John Cena’s weakness as an actor, the modifications made to the role deliberately placed him in a comedic frame, which made his attempts to mock President Venegas and ridicule his sayings a kind of mockery of the scene itself, and not a comedic scene to laugh or alleviate the severity of the drama.
The state of chaos in the scenario extended to unforgivable dramatic sins, as the journalist with brutal ambition, who personally contacted the dictator to embark on the adventure of interviewing him, appeared as if she were a superficial, frivolous girl, who came from an unknown world with no past that would push her to all this brutality. She tried to seduce her bodyguard. Who proved his devotion to his wife, who had just thrown him out.
The scenario tried to address its contradictions between being a copy of the comedy film “The Dictator,” in which it was clear that its hero was hated by his people, and the drama “Freelance,” in which explicit scenes of the people’s hatred for their ruler appeared, by presenting him as a popular person in the village in which he was born. So much so that the villagers face an army of mercenaries for his sake.
Some mistakes may affect the credibility of the film maker and his professionalism itself, especially if a supposed (external) scene was filmed inside the studio with a green background and a group of tree leaves. The forest scenes to which the three heroes of the film escape seemed strange and unlike any other until the green ground appeared ( Chroma), which revealed that the production cost, which amounted to 40 million dollars, was wasted on the actors’ wages alone.
The creators of the work defied all the laws of nature with a chase that did not belong to reality by two soldiers armed with machine guns and a plane firing shells of bullets and fire in a plain area for both the journalist and her bodyguard, and over a period of 5 minutes, neither of them was injured despite the rain of bullets.
The director did not succeed in presenting a visual language parallel to the content. Most of his scenes were attempts to convey the story he wanted to tell, which was also very old. It seemed as if each actor was improvising his movement, while the photographer chased him without specifying the size of the shot or the angle of photography.
The film provides a real lesson in the mistakes that filmmakers should not make, of which Freelance collected the largest number in performance, script and direction, especially in the penultimate scene, where the president forgives his cousin who tried to coup against him and embraces him, but one of his army commanders releases… He is hit by bullets, and his army turns against him, and the cousin dies. Then the army tries to attack him inside his office, so he convinces his army to unite and not enter into a war, but the mercenaries of the major companies attack everyone, and so dozens gathered inside the staff, and were arranged within the staff in horizontal rows, while Montage played its role in increasing the chaos of the senses.
The passage of 50 years was not the only reason for the failure of creating the image of a legendary American soldier in a new edition, but rather the transformations that occurred in Hollywood, and in the audience itself. No matter how bad the acting of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone was, it would not be as bad as the appearance of the American wrestler John Cena, or His fellow actors as well as the script and direction.