Some months ago, I started to read of rumors about Chirs Evans -- up-and-coming star of the two "Captain America" movies of recent vintage -- possibly giving up acting. It seemed an odd thing, on the face of it -- he's a very talented young guy, getting famous, and seemingly on the cusp of true stardom.
But tonight I watched "Snowpiercer", a new movie starring Chris Evans, just released on Blu-Ray, and I think I may understand now why he might want to quit the biz… because if he takes on many more roles in junk like this, he just might not be able to deal with the embarrassment in the future. (John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris, also wasted in this movie, do nothing to enhance their reputations… but maybe they each needed to pay off some bills or something.)
"Snowpiercer" is ostensibly a post-apocalyptic science fiction tale about Earth in the not-too-distant future, when the release of some global warming-fighting chemical in the atmosphere has reduced the temperature of the planet to the point where (we are told) ALL LIFE HAS CEASED TO EXIST!!!
Now, that would make for a short movie, right? (Oh, if only…!)
What the text frame which sets up this scenario near the beginning of the movie ACTUALLY means is that all life except for a bunch of people (and, as we come to find out, somehow -- and it's never explained exactly how, and probably for good reason -- some cows and chickens and a whole aquarium full of exotic sea life) on a train has ceased to exist. This train has somehow been running non-stop for close to two decades, on non-maintained tracks with no resupply, through the icy, frozen wilderness which is all that is left of our world, occasionally running at high speed into solid ice barriers and smashing through them with no damage. (Yes, it's "Super Train".)
Chris Evans is the hero whose name I have already forgotten, even though I just finished watching the movie fifteen minutes ago. He's one of the ragtag bunch of losers in the tail section of the train, who are abused by the rich fat cats in the front part of the train and their stormtrooper-like flunkies… and as the movie begins, he's about to lead a rebellion and storm to the head of the train.
What follows is a violent and increasingly absurd -- and not in a good way -- series of battles as the tail-enders make their bloody way toward the head of the train. One gets the feeling that some grand social commentary is being attempted, but the filmmakers simply don't have the skill set with which to accomplish such a thing, and it gets lost amongst the increasingly ridiculous characters, dialogue, settings and action. There was exactly ONE moment which I thought was kind of clever and showed a glimmer of what might have been a really exciting action movie without all the stupid beyond suspension-of-disbelief setup -- a brief fight sequence as the train barrels through a dark tunnel.
The rest of it is brain-grindingly inane and pointless. Please, if you don't want to have that horrible feeling of "I could have done so many other things with the one hundred and twenty-six minutes I just wasted on this nonsense!", steer clear of "Snowpiercer". -- PL