Combustible Celluloid
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With: Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson, Leslie Bibb, Kate del Castillo, Henry Simmons
Written by: Aimee Lagos
Directed by: Sam Miller
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, menace, terror, and for language
Running Time: 84
Date: 09/12/2014

No Good Deed (2014)

1 Star (out of 4)

'No Good' Is Right

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Taraji P. Henson is usually the best thing in whatever movie she makes, and that's the case with No Good Deed too, except that the rest of the movie is garbage.

Colin Evans (Idris Elba) has served five years for manslaughter and is now up for parole, though many citizens are convinced that he was responsible for at least five coldblooded murders. Sent back for another stretch, he escapes and tracks down an old girlfriend (Kate del Castillo) for some unfinished business. Driving though a huge rainstorm, he crashes into a tree and takes refuge in the home of Terri (Taraji P. Henson), whose husband has just left on a trip. At first, Colin seems charming, and Terri's friend Meg (Leslie Bibb) seems to like him, but then his behavior begins to grow more erratic and Terri begins to fear for her and her children's safety. Her only hope is to wait for the cunning Colin to make a mistake.

To start, the movie is a stupid thriller that depends on all its characters to be idiots. Henson's character is supposed to be a criminal prosecutor that specializes in cases of violence against women, yet she makes one rookie mistake after another.

When characters can't rely on stupidity to move the plot forward, a rash of dumb coincidences and cliches gets the job done. Idris Elba plays an indestructible killer, who keeps going after numerous bashes on the head and stabs in the stomach, and poor Leslie Bibb gets killed after talking too much about sex. Then there's the fact that the film's worst violence is directed at women. Not to mention that, from the point of view of a white, male director, it is very poor representation of African-Americans.

The first two words of the title effectively sum up this terrible movie.

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