The insipidness of Brian Skiba’s The 2nd is immediately evident from the film’s opening 5-minute pre-titles action sequence that features terrible dialogue, a paycheck grabbing William Katt almost literally phoning in his performance as he is glued to a cell phone for half of his screen time, CGI added gun muzzle flashes that would embarrass a film student with their ineptitude and drastically over the top Ryan Phillippe clearly looking around for a better film. Unfortunately for both Ryan and the audience, the films still has many depths to fall to still.
With a script that feels like its been spit out by a computer program that’s been fed a diet of 80’s and 90’s action ripoffs, The 2nd is more packed with clichés and eye rolling-ly bad plot devices than any film in recent history. When Major Vic Davis (Philippe), a Green Beret Battalion Leader (that apparently also does protection work?) arrives to pick up his son Shawn (Jack Griffo) from college for winter break, he stumbles upon a kidnapping in process of a fellow classmate of Shawn’s, Erin Walton (Lexi Simonsen), the daughter of a prominent senator.
It turns out that the Senator is set to vote on a repeal to the 2nd Amendment (I guess, its something to do with the 2nd amendment, but the film does such a piss poor job establishing this I couldn’t tell you 100% what it entails) and the CIA Director (Richard Burgi) would like to ‘influence’ his vote – personally. He sends in a team led by ‘Driver’ (Casper Van Dien – eschewing the moniker from Ryan Gosling’s Drive, in nauseating fashion) in order to process the kidnapping – but Davis arrives just in time to muck up all their plans. Mediocrity ensues.
The action sequences are bad to mediocre, with only one short set-piece in a dumpster showing any real flash of competency. Phillipe actually does show potential in the fight scenes – but they are just so extremely poorly choreographed that it kills any intention of his movement. He faces a random rollout of stereotypical clichéd henchman and women. Why this kidnapping needs such a big team to execute is never fully explained as these caricatures are simply present to increase Phillippe’s body count and we as the audience can’t remember who any of these characters were, to begin with, speaks volumes.
The only actors who show any spark of chemistry are Griffo and Simonsen as the put upon would be sweethearts – but their story arc is so half baked and underdeveloped that you never believe for a second they could be a couple, and Griffo’s Shawn gives us no believable reason for wanting to protect Simonsen’s Erin. The rest of the performances are barely worth mentioning as they range from bad to incredibly bad. Van Dien and Phillippe have both done solid work in their careers – which leads us to be baffled by the insanely poor acting choices had here. Fans of awkward brooding face and yell-y acting should be the only ones appeased.
The film ends with a shootout replete with explosions in an abandoned warehouse/water treatment plant right on the docks that not a single law enforcement officer arrives to investigate, along with a CIA Director that doesn’t actually know how to properly hold a gun, an extremely predictable twist, and a cliffhanger that sets up a sequel with zero explanation as a random group of thugs just show up at a hospital to corner Davis. Trying to figure out this movie or how it got made could give anyone a migraine, and at this point, I desperately need some Tylenol and a nap.
- Release Date: 1/19/2021