By: Nick van Dinther
Cartel 2045 was originally scheduled to be released three years ago. After years of tweaking and editing, it’s now available on VOD and Digital HD, but it still seems unfinished.
In a world where robots used to aid the military, these mechanical creations have become the weapons to some of the most dangerous drug cartels in all of Mexico. In an effort to eliminate this threat, Carson Wright (Brad Schmidt) goes after the head of one of the worst cartels (Danny Trejo), only to learn that there’s a larger threat to worry about.
The biggest disappointment in Cartel 2045 is how its interesting premise falters. Writer/director Chris Le could’ve followed two paths: to make a slick robot action flick ala Real Steel, or play up the campy qualities and make a Sharknado-esque film. Unfortunately, he chooses neither, and instead takes the film far too seriously.
Every good action flick has moments of levity, but Cartel 2045 is one big drag. This is mostly due to shoddy character development. It’s very difficult to care about any of these characters. And when certain people die, their deaths carry no weight. Typically, the cast can take some blame here, but the performers do their best to muster through Le’s poor dialogue and muddled narrative. The most interesting parts of the movie are Carson’s interactions with the main robot, A.D.A.M, but these glimmers get lost throughout this convoluted film.
One would hope that Cartel 2045 is, at least, heavy on the action – it is. However, these tedious sequences are too long and rely heavily on CGI. Not very strong CGI, I might add. The robots look cool and their formidable design is appreciative, but their movements are flawed. From simple tasks like walking to their advanced weaponry, it all looks stilted. Likewise for the muzzle flashes fired from the guns; they appear as if they were copied from a dated video game. And, what’s the point to the visual filters? Chris Le seems to be going for a “Grindhouse” vibe, but the effect doesn’t add anything to the film – it actually takes away from it. Another bizarre decision was to dismiss English subtitles for scenes in Spanish. Sometimes this adds mystique, but here the language is spoken far too frequently; adding confusion to those trying to comprehend this already complicated plot.
Cartel 2045, riddled with mistakes, is a misfire across the board.
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Nick van Dinther: @NickVanDinther