Jun 5, 2019
Here’s the first of two Netflix Original releases this week, the latest from the director with one of the stranger monikers, McG. It follows up his previous Netflix film, 2017’s “The Babysitter”, an over-the-top horror comedy that seemed to either hit or miss with genre fans. Will his second feature for Netflix fare any better? I’ll let you know in a bit, but for a few other teen-driven Netflix Original films on the lighter side, check out “Dude” (Episode #111), “Candy Jar” (Episode #118), “The Kissing Booth” (Episode #132), “Alex Strangelove” (Episode #160), “The Package” (Episode #226), “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” (Episode #230), and “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” (Episode #251).
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Here we go!
Today’s movie is “Rim Of The World”, the Netflix Original teen adventure film directed by McG and written for the screen by Zack Stentz. The film follows four teenagers left behind at Rim of the World summer camp, who find themselves in possession of the key to fighting back an alien invasion. They must work together to travel ninety miles to Pasadena to deliver the key, avoiding aliens and looters in the process.
A film usually can’t be everything a writer or director would like it to be, at least not without great cost and effort, and very patient producers and investors. Too many films have been produced that have attempted to meld together too many genres or themes, none of which ever seems to get their due. Without the right blending, a film loses connectivity within its composition, and the result never seems to land well with fans of any particular aspect of the film. So, I’m not sure what was expected when McG tried to combine a deadly serious alien invasion race against time with a comedic teenage coming of age story interspersed between action scenes, but I’m pretty sure “Rim of the World” wasn’t the goal.
To be blunt, the film doesn’t hold together very well. The first thirty minutes is all summer camp tropes, gradually introducing each character with their backstories, and maneuvering them into place for the beginning of the alien invasion. Aside from a thriller cold opening to set a somewhat menacing tone, the comedy is all slapstick and teenage cajoling, with characters that often cross the line from character into caricature. Suddenly, we’re jarred into the invasion, and a series of well-rendered action scenes permeate the remaining run-time, with the occasional break for clumsy teenage interactions that are clear setups for character growth of sorts. It’s hard to appreciate the comedy with all the intense and deadly action. It’s hard to appreciate the action with all the completely out of step comedic and drama undertones. The film really needed to pick a lane in order to be more effective.
Instead, we get a film that feels as clumsy as its protagonists. For what it’s worth, I think the four leads, including Jack Gore as a reclusive white kid with a traumatic past, Miya Cech as a Chinese runaway flying into LAX, Benjamin Flores Jr as a rich black kid whose family is being investigated, and Alessio Scalzotto as a runaway from a juvenille detention center, do as well as the script and tone allows. They did much better with the comedy portions rather than the action portions, often struggling against forced comedic relief during intense action scenes. They also had to struggle against some questionable humor and language within the script, most of which was not essential to the plot. I think each of them would excel with a better script and role, and I hope this film can serve as a base for that.
“Rim Of The World” is an action comedy invasion film, that never really captures a consistent tone or theme for the entire film. While the four leads do well for the roles they were given, they were also undercut by trying to do too much with a single film. The film is entertaining enough, and good for a few forgiving laughs and a few well-rendered action scenes, but lacks any cohesiveness to make it memorable. Fans of McG, or action comedies, should probably check out this film, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
One Movie Punch: 5.6/10
“Rim Of The World” (2019) is rated TV-14 and is currently playing on Netflix.