Starring Luke Bracey, Nina Dobrev, Ella Ryan Quinn, Clé Bennett, David Hewlett, Clifton Collins Jr., and Crispin Glover
Written and Directed by Roger Avary
Unrated for VOD Release: contains violence, coarse language and sexual content
Runtime: 99 minutes
Video on Demand Release Date: 10/11/2019
It’s gotta be tough for Roger Avary to ponder his life. The Manitoba-born Oscar co-winner (for the Pulp Fiction screenplay, no less) has never been able to achieve the same kind of glory, or co-glory, as that. His friendship/working relationship with Quentin Tarantino was his heyday, that’s for sure. As soon as he tried to veer off onto his own, his strident ship sank and sank hard. See Killing Zoe if you want to know what I mean by that.
Better yet, don’t see Killing Zoe. Don’t see it for many of the same reasons that you shouldn’t see Lucky Day, his newest film. It’s like Avary took all of the wonderfully compelling storylines and rich characters that he somehow helped develop with QT and then blanched them on the stovetop, leaving the pale, dull, limp, lifeless, humourless dreck on screen.
In Lucky Day, a guy named Red (Luke Bracey) gets out of jail after a two-year stint, reunites with his woman, an artist named Chloe (Nina Dobrev), and their daughter Beatrice (Ella Ryan Quinn), a young waif who is so adorable at such a young age that she decides to only speak French, much to Red’s chagrin.
If Red and Chloe sound remarkably similar to Zed and Zoe, I’m sure that’s only coincidence.
Enter Luc (Crispin Glover), the only fun character who also happens to be the diabolical one. Revel in Glover chewing through scenes as a French assassin in a way that only he could: by one-upping his Creepy Thin Man role from Charlie’s Angels. Regale in the thick Franco drogue he pours out like too much syrup on a stack of crepes as he interacts with the airport border guard who asks him the purpose of his visit.
“Bizahness ... plehzhoor. I take plehzhoor in mah bizahness,” Luc froths in response.
His character is described as the Terminator who cannot be killed, and that comment is made by a guy with a Hitler moustache, who then reveals that Luc only thinks he’s French. We are meant to discern that he is so unhinged to not only be as ruthless as he is but also that he adopts so wholeheartedly the accent of another country. He doesn’t speak a word of French, mind you. I’d say he was less professional than The Professional, for certain.
If the French-iness of so much of this story reminds you of any kind of Royale with cheese dialogue, I’m sure that this is still coincidence. Also marked as coincidences are the Dick Dale surfer music influences on the soundtrack, the criminals vs. criminals plot, the extended setup/payoff trick and the dark/morbid sense of humour.
Where Avary diverges from QT is in his dreadful dialogue and ham-handed directing and ridiculous characterizations and awful pacing. If you came for the action, then you need to wait for the one-hour mark for things to really get going, but only after you’ve been bored to death.
Maybe Lucky Day would have been better with a disjointed chronological narrative. Nah ...