Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Okay, so Alex North (Gabriel Mann) by all accounts is an insufferable asshole. On this particular day it is Alex’s birthday and he is greeted with a rather suggestive call on his answering machine from his girl Mona (Natalia Avelon) promising to do all kinds of gloriously nasty stuff to him and he is also dealing with persistent knocks on his door. At the door is restaurateur Walter (Francis Fulton-Smith) and a couple of his goons who duct tape Alex to a chair while Walter politely requests repayment of his fifteen thousand dollars he lent Alex six months ago. Alex of course doesn’t have it, Walter is pissed off and thus has stripper / nurse Britt (Xenia Seeberg) inject Alex with a concoction that will force a heart attack upon the asshole in 80 minutes if he doesn’t deliver Walter’s fifteen grand. And thus we have the premise for this rather lackluster German thriller appropriately titled ‘80 Minutes’.

So Walter cuts Alex loose who speeds away in his hooptie on his way to see his MD brother. On the way he crashes into some dudes brand new Jaguar which upsets this cat to no end who all of the sudden turns into murderous lunatic. I guess they don’t have car insurance in Germany. After finally shaking this dude Alex meets up with his brother Vincent (Max Urlacher) at the hospital and proceeds to beg incessantly for money to pay Walter. We should mention that Vincent has a decidedly European accent while Alex sounds like he comes from Modesto. Peculiar. They also run some tests on Alex and sure enough he’s infected with some wicked ass shit.

Now Alex needs to make it back to his apartment to pay Walter, but as we saw earlier his car is out of commission thus he needs to call his pot head buddies Lloyd (Olivier Kieran-Jones) and Floyd (Joshua Dallas). Unfortunately Floyd… or maybe it was Lloyd, I can’t remember, took some money from a group a renegade bikers who have intercepted our crew with murder in mind and could care less that Alex has 45…44…43 minutes left to live.

Some more bad stuff happens with Alex completely showing his lack of worth in being a decent human being which ultimately has him on the run again to make it back to his apartment in time. He runs into his Trans-Am driving girlfriend, the angry dude in the busted Jag, some pissed off former best buddies, the renegade bikers and more with the clock on his wrist ticking down to triple zero. Will Alex make it on time? Will you even care? I know I didn’t.

So I’m watching this movie directed by Thomas Jahn and about halfway through I’m hoping… praying actually that it doesn’t end the way that I think it’s going to end. You see there was a similar movie that ended the way that I was fearing this one was going to end and the ending in that movie sucked total ass ruining what was a pretty good movie. This movie here wasn’t a good movie, so a bad ending similar to the one that I was fearing would make a bad movie even worse. I don’t want to tell you the name of that movie because if you’ve seen that movie it would totally spoil this movie for you and I don’t want to do that to you because you might like this movie, the way it progresses, and how it ends. Unfortunately my prayers were not answered on this day with this movie ending the way I feared it would, thus making a movie that was already difficult enough to sit through almost worthless.

The first problem with this movie is that from frame one Gabriel Mann’s Alex North is truly an insufferable jerk with almost no socially redeeming characteristics. And he does not improve. Sure these bad things are happening to him but since he’s such an ass, who cares? After a while you’re just kind sitting of their secretly hoping that he would just hurry up and die. Sad but true.

The movie does have quite a few action elements to it but a lot of this action simply lacks the pop that a good action sequence should have. Again part of the problem is that we spend a lot of time watching Gabriel Mann run around, and though we have nothing but mad love for the man he’s not exactly Carl Lewis which made watching my boy’s attempts at running somewhat painful. But then the car chases, motorcycle chases and shootouts don’t fare much better.

Then we have our twisty ending. Aside from the fact that I hate the concept of this twist ending, one does have to wonder how far one should go when participating in the twist. For instance if you’re playing Hamlet on stage, when you go home for the evening you can stop being Hamlet. The audience isn’t watching you anymore so it makes no sense to continue to be Hamlet. I’m all for staying in character, but it seems the characters in this movie that should’ve been aware of the ‘twist’ weren’t actually aware of the twist until the twist happened, but then they were aware. Didn’t make any sense.

Of course this is just one mans opinion and you might find the whole exercise thrilling and clever. I found it dull, trite and pointless. What more can we say?

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