In the dark heart of a sprawling, anonymous city, “Terminal” follows the twisting tales of two assassins carrying out a sinister mission, a teacher battling a fatal illness, an enigmatic janitor and a curious waitress leading a dangerous double life. Murderous consequences unravel in the dead of night as their lives all intertwine at the hands of a mysterious criminal mastermind hell-bent on revenge.
In the dark heart of a sprawling, anonymous city, Terminal follows the twisting tales of two assassins carrying out a sinister mission, a teacher battling a fatal illness, an enigmatic janitor and a curious waitress leading a dangerous double life. Murderous consequences unravel in the dead of night as their lives all intertwine at the hands of a mysterious criminal mastermind hell-bent on revenge.
An airless debut that says much about its writer-director’s cultural diet and little about anything else in the world, Vaughn Stein’s Terminal blends tropes from several sorts of crime flicks into a soundstagey affair that’s more brittle than hard-boiled. Attention will be paid thanks to star Margot Robbie (one of many producers here) and supporting players Simon Pegg and Mike Myers, but the box office will quickly forget this outing for the I, Tonya actress in anticipation of more sturdy vehicles to come.
One of those roles (just officially announced) will be that of Sharon Tate in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, whose writer-director Quentin Tarantino has an influence here that is obvious long before Stein starts nodding cutely at him. (He recreates QT’s signature trunk-opening shot; he has Robbie plotting “bloody revenge” and brainstorming ways for Pegg’s Bill to kill…Bill.) In addition to Robbie’s revenge-minded diner waitress Annie (who goes by “Bunny” when she’s stripping at a nearby club), Stein offers two talkative hit men (Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons’ Vince and Alfred, respectively) whose chemistry and banter will not push Pulp Fiction‘s Vincent and Jules from any fan’s mind.
The two are working for the mysterious Mr. Franklin, who puts out contracts anonymously via voice-modulated phone calls, briefcases stashed in train terminal storage lockers and other tricks you may be able to imagine for yourself. (When his identity is finally revealed, it’s via a gag straight out of The Usual Suspects.) Franklin has instructed the fellas to camp out in a hotel room for days, waiting to shoot someone who will appear in a room across the street. They get testy with each other during the wait, but they have other problems they’re not aware of: At the film’s start, we saw Annie (hiding her identity under a Mia Wallace wig) promise Mr. F that she’d kill all his go-to hit men so he’d have no choice but to hire her instead.
Original title Terminal