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Review: Clunky franchise non-starter 'Infinite' runs out of lives

Courtesy of Paramount+


“Have you ever had a dream so real, it felt like a memory?” says Mark Whalberg in one of several repetitions voice-overs throughout Antonie Fuqua’s lousy, “Matrix” meets “Jumper” franchise non-starter “Infinite.” Originally slated for a theatrical release before sister streaming service Paramount+ needed some fresh blood to lure subscribers (or become the proverbial dumping ground for what is obviously a stage five stinker), “Infinite” sees Whalberg playing a diagnosed schizophrenic unaware of his unique powers and capabilities that have spanned decades. Defined as an “Infinite,” Whalberg’s Evan McCauley suffers intermittent flashbacks and bad cases of Deja Vu because he’s five souls manifesting inside one body. He could never explain how it was possible to mold and create samurai swords like a blacksmith from the 1600s or list, without hesitation, ingredients in gunpowder, and capitals of random countries, but a secret society of “believers” educate McCauley and the audience. He has infinite lives, because when an “infinite” dies, their subconscious and skills transfer over to another in some strange metaphor on reincarnation.

One has to admire the confidence “Infinite” radiates under the direction of Fuqua who clearly gets lost in his own story and screenwriters Ian Shorr and Todd Stein - based on the book by D. Eric Maikranz - have watched James Bond one too many times. When Whalberg looks at the camera with a confused look on his face - as the “Believers” (those who understand what an “Infinite” is) explain there’s a squad of evil baddies named the “Nihilist” tracking down a giant MacGuffin that will destroy all life on earth - you start to wonder if this was more than he signed up for. A Nihilist/Infinite played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, looking more like a Thanos henchmen than a narcissist villain (and loves to torture people with honey - poor Toby Jones) is leading the search for the doomsday device dubbed the “Egg” (yes, it’s called the egg) because, I guess he’s tired of being immortal.

Anyone who watched “The Old Guard” will see a litany of similarities among the titles, which doesn’t touch the surface of engaging action sequences. Fuqua amps the slow motion, Zack Snyder style, with a harrowing car chase in Mexico city over the opening credits with Dylan O’Brien, but the passive entertainment ends there. The morality play of the role “Infinites” serve in the universe are scarce, and the film constantly repeats its objectives either through forced narration or character interactions. It’s as if the filmmakers don’t trust the audience or test viewers didn’t understand what the hell was going on. Either way, Christopher Nolan would be confused.

“Infinite” is stuck on a loop of mindless, loud, and obnoxious narrative mechanics and characters (Jason Matzoukas ironically shows up for a silly supporting turn that’s destined to land on his “How Did This Get Made?” podcast that skewers horrible movies). I almost want to recommend the film for its bonkers and legendary climax, though it’ll probably end up plastered on social media because casual viewers aren’t prepared for what’s coming and they’ll want to share it with the world. When that day comes, check it out, but as an overall cinematic experience “Infinite” quickly runs out of lives and your time is more valuable than traversing down this rabbit hole.

Grade: D

INFINITE is now streaming on Paramount+


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