a critiQal film review 7 Seconds (2005)

Plot: Jack Tulliver (Snipes) has big plans. After he and his crew pull off a daring robbery in Romania, he plans on spending the rest of his days relaxing on the beach. But, when the robbery goes sour, Jack is one of the only ones who survives - taking a stolen briefcase with him for his troubles. Unfortunately for Jack, there are some powerful men who want that briefcase back.

Reviewed
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  • ... 7 seconds is about how long you should watch this film - get past the robbery sequence and it's all downhill from there.

Wesley Snipes, the star of 7 Seconds, has the oddest career lately. He made an incredible career move by signing on to star in Blade (1998) a few years back, and that’s just exploded his name back into the big time once again. He’s gone on to do 2 sequels, and spawned who knows how many spin-off products as well.

But, during his down time, he doesn’t choose the big name films you may expect, he instead stars in films that get little or no publicity. Unstoppable (2004) was one of those, and his latest, 7 Seconds, is another. Why star in little films after the big time has finally come knocking again? Is it because he’s taking risks, trying things he has faith in, or is he just acting to be acting? This can’t really be all the roles he gets, can it? With this question burning brightly in my mind, I just had to rent 7 Seconds and see if it was wrongly overlooked by the public in general.

Wesley Snipes seems to act in accordance with how big of a movie he’s in. He always seems to step it up a notch for big budget films, and tends to coast his way through smaller movies. He plays basically the same role in all of the smaller films he does: he’s always some type of ex-military, and he has to punch and kick his way to the finish. Unfortunately, that punching and kicking (or the smaller paycheck) may have lead him to believe he doesn’t have to try as hard in smaller films like 7 Seconds.

His acting is lackluster at best during most of the film, and seems to shine through at times almost in spite of him. During the action sequences, he’s almost a robot operating on overdrive, but despite that he gives a little vulnerability to any character he plays, almost without seeming to. His best moments in 7 Seconds come when he’s on the phone with the military police detective who’s trying to track him down. His words all seem to flow much easier, and his comedic timing (when needed) comes right on cue.

The plot of 7 Seconds is decent enough, but tends to be a bit confusing. It starts off with an impressively filmed robbery that goes awry when the viewer least expects it. The director seems at his best when filming action sequences, and the robbery is fun to watch. It pulls the viewer immediately into the film, and as the action escalates, it leaves the viewer willing to stick it through to the end.

After the robbery, a car chase occurs, and this is where the movie begins to falter. With a series of stunts just there for the purpose of trying to make the car chase more exciting, the director puts his faith in the stunts rather than the speeding car maneuvers to make the chase more interesting. Many of the stunts seem to be taken directly from the basic manual of stunt-driving: in other words, the viewer has seem them all numerous times before.

After the disappointing car chase, 7 Seconds continues on it’s downward path, leading us through a rather boring search for the truth. When the movie finally does reach it’s conclusion, the viewer cares more that things are finally wrapped up, and the problem solved, rather than it’s conclusion. This may be in part due to the incredibly bad casting of the villain of the picture combined with an actually rather dull storyline, or maybe it’s just the adrenaline has finally worn off from the first robbery sequence. Whatever the reason, the movie has lost a lot of the viewer interest that first sequence captured.

Snipes has never been that good at thrillers, and should most likely stick to flat-out action films for the remainder of his career. After all, those type of films made him: Passenger 57 (1992), Blade (1998), even Drop Zone (1994). But how many people saw his last thriller, Unstoppable (2004)? Point made.

Stick to what you are good at, Snipes. Or, if you’re going to keep making these smaller, low on promotion films, how about something totally out of character like a comedy or a drama? Expand your acting skills, so your next big blockbuster film will be all that much better. Basically, 7 Seconds is about how long you should watch this film – get past the robbery sequence and it’s all downhill from there.

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