Blu-ray Review Crime

‘Terminal’ Blu-ray Review: Margot Robbie’s Noir Thriller is Stylish but Lacking in Substance

June 26, 2018Ben MK

A neon-drenched exercise in style over substance and non-linear storytelling, Terminal is a noir-inspired tale of deception and double-crosses that ends up being somewhat less than the sum of its parts.

In this feature debut from writer/director Vaughn Stein, Margot Robbie plays a singularly-minded assassin named Annie, a femme fatale with a penchant for moonlighting as a waitress at an all-night diner and as a dancer at a men's club. The mysterious underworld kingpin known only as Mr. Franklyn is looking to liquidate his contracts, and Annie wants the lot, so she sets about pitting her unwitting competition, a pair of hitmen named Alf (Max Irons) and Vince (Dexter Fletcher), against one another. Throw in a terminally ill school teacher named Bill (Simon Pegg), to whom Annie begins providing unsolicited suicide advice after train station night supervisor Clinton (Mike Myers) directs him to visit her diner, and you have the makings of a potentially intriguing revenge thriller.

The problem is that by the time it all comes together, it's almost too little, too late. Part The Usual Suspects, part Sin City, but less interesting than either of the two, Terminal wanders clumsily through its first two-thirds before a cascade of twists and turns reveals Annie's endgame. The result is enough to redeem the film, but just barely.

Terminal makes the most of its limited budget, thanks to stylish cinematography and a bold, comic book-influenced color palette; and even though it takes place almost exclusively among three nighttime locales (the End of the Line diner, the Precinct Hotel and a train terminal), this 1080p encode still manages to leave its mark visually. As for the audio, it's nowhere near as memorable, but that's not to say the disc's Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound mix doesn't do a competent job with the movie's low-key sound design, from the background noise of the city, to the odd gunshot, to the unseen trains rattling the tracks as they pass through the station.

VVS Films' single-disc Blu-ray release includes the following extras:

  • Building the World of Terminal (6:11) - The cast talk about what drew them to the project, and the filmmakers talk about bringing the visually distinctive dystopian world of the movie to the screen, from the color palette and the lighting to shooting in Budapest.
  • The Cast of Terminal (6:12) - A look at what Simon Pegg, Mike Myers, Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons bring to the film.

Terminal is available from VVS Films as of June 26th, 2018. The Blu-ray features English and French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks, and is presented with English and French subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 35 min.

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