Infinite Melds Multiple SF Tropes Into Muddled Movie

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Infinite on Blu-ray

Mark Wahlberg headlines this sci-fi outing that blends elements of Highlander with The Matrix and Inception, resulting in a story that seems to advance so that each scene can cover the plot hole of the previous one.

The title, Infinite, refers to the group of people who have endured multiple reincarnations, and having held on to all their memories of their past lives. Why this is happening to them is never explained, even though the question of it is what drives the movie forward. The one exception to the memory rule is Wahlberg's character, Evan McCauley. In his past lives he has gone by the name Treadway (played in flashback scenes by Dylan O'Brien). Due to some accident earlier in this life, Evan has lost the memories of his past lives while retaining the instincts and lessons, such as sword forging and martial arts.

When he is discovered by another Infinite, Bathurst (Chiwetel Ejiofor), other Infinites have to come to his rescue. Bathurst wants him to recover his memories because in his past life, Treadway stole something from Bathurst -- a doomsday weapon -- and hid it where nobody has ever found it. This is the true macguffin of the movie, and the longer it's examined the more things fall apart. For one thing, we see the scene where Bathurst's most recent incarnation comes to an end, during a car chase right out of Fast and Furious. The cars are very moden, as are the buildings and the technology. It could easily be set today. And yet during the time that has passed since Treadway's death and his life as McCauley (Wahlberg himself is 50 years old, but we'll assume he's playing at least a 30-year-old man, because he looks that good), technology seems to have been at a standstill. There's nothing to show that one scene is at least 30 years older than the other.

Additionally there's the weapon itself. Bathurst created an ornate golden faberge egg that houses some sort of virus that will spread quickly and wipe out every living organism on the planet. His reasoning for this is the madness he has developed from multiple reincarnations; his memories don't kick in at puberty, but at conception, so he endures 9 months womb imprisonment, then years of physical helplessness. The only way he sees off this cosmic merry-go-round is to make sure there is no organic life to reincarnate into, thus ensuring his own death.

I've always had a problem with "stolen and hidden" superweapon plots and plans. The story always seems to involve the good guys stealing/hiding these things so the bad guys chase after them. In this case, Bathurst has waited at least 30 years to find where his stolen weapon was hidden. Seems to me that's 30 years he could have spent building more of them, since the plans never go away.

McCauley is rescued from Bathurst by Nora Brightman (Sophie Cookson), who represents the faction of Infinites who are, more or less, "the good guys." They also need McCauley's memories to return so they can find where he hid that weapon and -- I don't know -- hide it better? They are in battle with Bathurst who has a secret weapon against them: he has developed special bullets that he shoots them in the head with, which downloads their consciousness onto USB drives so they live on in the computer simulation and don't go reincarnating into physical bodies. Their souls are still alive that way, but he can keep them in special drawers where they can't get out and work against him.

Antoine Fuqua's film is rife with ideas that could be used to better effect for a series, perhaps. But as a movie the concepts are just so all over the place they make for scattered plot points and, ultimately, a disappointing viewing.

Watch Infinite on any of the streaming services listed here.

3.0 / 5.0