The Bricklayer

3 out of 10

I came into this movie with low expectations, I finished the movie disappointed – that the movie was well below my already lowered expectations.

Aaron Eckhart plays Steve Veil, a man who used to work for the CIA, but has chosen to leave the agent to lay bricks. He eventually lets us know why and the why is a doozer. Nina Dobrev plays Kate Bannon, an uptight CIA analyst who is forced to work with Veil to track down a former CIA asset gone rogue, Victor Radek (Clifton Collins Jr). Radek is killing journalists and trying to set off a war between European nations as a part of a revenge scheme.

Veil a bricklayer by day and a reluctant CIA asset by request. When he works for the CIA he brings his bricklaying tools… because, well, the movie is titled The Bricklayer. The script puts him into situations where his bricklayer skills and tools just happen to be useful. It’s quite forced.

The action in the movie is of the standard Renny Harlin fare - masochistic and brutal to the point of making the action painfully unwatchable. If you like Harllin’s 90s style action, you’ll be happy with The Bricklayer. His style of moviemaking hasn’t progressed since the 90s.

The hand-to-hand fights are the type where a group of enemies come to fight the hero. But instead of attacking all at once, they line up to fight one-on-one with the hero. American cinema needs to learn from old Jackie Chan films where his one character takes on multiple people with aplomb.

Aaron Eckhart is fully committed to the role, that’s a good thing. Aaron Eckhart deserves better than roles like this. Can his character please shave? His character is nearly invisible. Punched, shot and part of an explosion. Sure he looks like he’s torn up, but he keeps ticking!

Nina Dobrev’s character is a bit too much with the adherence to protocol. Her character also is uneven in tone: Sometimes she’s comic relief, sometimes she’s serious and sometimes she’s goofy – it’s if they merged a few characters into one.

Tim Blake Nelson is well cast as the squirrelly CIA director. Clifton Collin’s Jr. is a cliched talking bad guy.

The sound mix for this movie is terrible. The dialogue is too low, the rest of the sound is too loud. This might be a blessing given that a lot of the dialogue is not well-written.

The movie is well shot and the production design is top notch. This is one of the better things about The Bricklayer.

This movie never ends. I thought it ended, but it didn’t. Then it ended again, but didn’t.

Streamed on Netflix.