The Answer doesn’t change the game for sci-fi romance, but it comes thisclose to being an small scale success.
Fair warning, there’s a major dose of bait and switch. The movie poster looks like it’s going to be this action-packed bonanza featuring a lead character that looks like Snake-Eyes carrying a Tron style weapon. This is not that movie at all. What we do get though isn’t half bad.
Director/Writer Iqbal Ahmed navigates through a limited budget with a smart sense of not getting in over his head. There’s no cheap looking CGI even to animate the villains’ outfits or even extravagant action scenes that look terrible. Credit Ahmed, making his big screen debut, for understanding his limitations.
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Mail clerk Bridd (Austin Hébert) is living his best Neo life. He’s a mail clerk at an accounting firm and has no desire to make ways or even hold a conversation with Charlotte (Mixology’s Alexis Carra), the office hottie. Bridd does seem to have his way with numbers, patterns and formulas on an almost superhuman level.
Good thing Charlotte digs socially awkward geeks and starts coming on to him. Before their first date ends, a hit squad of humanoid looking aliens with cool Cobra Commander style helmets and glave-like devices start killing their co-workers. Together, Bridd and Charlotte have to piece together clues from his dead parents to learn of his true heritage while avoiding the murderous trio.
For a surprisingly solid length of time, The Answer works against the odds. Hébert and Carra have this quirky 80s style chemistry that just about works. There’s that pesky matter of no real explanation as to why Charlotte is so committed to Bridd. Midway through Ahmed seems to tease some twist, but holds back as if waiting to tackle that in a sequel. Maybe Ahmed was just trying to encourage the nerdy office guys that at any random point, the way out of their league co-worker will magically have the hots for them? Either way it’s the one glaring problem with the film as so much is built on this relationship.
When the film works, there’s a fun Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor vibe as it’s the two of them on the run from a seemingly unstoppable opponent. The production values are stronger than the average VOD release. At 83 minutes, the film breezes by, but starts to buckle in the second half. That’s when Ahmed starts throwing in some unnecessary and annoying romantic drama with Charlotte and Bridd. By shortchanging the build up, these moments don’t feel earned and come off silly.
The film also lacks a satisfying final act as Bridd’s confrontation with the aliens is lackluster. In The Answer, the journey is much more compelling than the actual destination. This is a film where the potential is obvious. With a tighter script and more cash to beef up the action this could have worked. It’s not bad for a rainy Saturday afternoon, but not the answer for high quality entertainment.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Photo Credit: High Octane Pictures