Message from the King: What I liked and didn’t like

Message from the King is about a man from South Africa who comes to Los Angeles to find his sister. When he discovers she’s been tortured and murdered, he hunts down the responsible parties. It’s a classic game of getting revenge. No surprises here.

Would I recommend this movie to a friend? No.

Would I watch this movie again? No.

Is this a movie I wish I made? No.

What I liked

  • There’s an interesting circle of criminals with the dentist, the porn director, and the Armenians. The writers did a good job of making the criminal plot layered without making it confusing. (Confusing usually isn’t good for an action flick.)
  • The monologue by Kelly in the restaurant is nice.

What I didn’t like

  • The reveal at the end wasn’t climatic. We find out he’s a detective in his South African city, but, so what? It shows his fighting skills come from somewhere, but it was already determined in the first part of the film that he came from the slums where there were a lot of murders, which explains why he’s good at hurting and killing people. The weak reveal was unneeded.
  • Why was his sister so important to him? Why did he kill more people after she was killed? Was it just sibling affection? If so that’s definitely not enough here. And why did he care about her ex-husband’s kid so much? It’s never revealed that he had a kid himself. Just because he has flashbacks of his sister and him running on the beach doesn’t make me care about their relationship.
  • There’s a lot of hating on Los Angeles. The movie makes it seem like LA is a shit hole where dreams are shit on. This isn’t true. I’ve lived there and had an amazing time. It’s no more unfair than anywhere else in the world.
  • A relationship is formed between Jacob (Chadwick Boseman) and Kelly (Teresa Palmer – who I love) but none is formed between them and the audience (me). They don’t have anything in common except that they are both outsiders. And that could be enough, but here it wasn’t. I think because he is only in LA temporarily and she is there long term. Plus we never know why Kelly went to LA. Did she go there because she had to (like Jacob) or did she go there to try to become an actress? If the latter, that doesn’t mean you have to become a soft core hooker when you stop trying to make it.

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