Infinite–Defending Your Life meets Altered Carbon and Assassin’s Creed on Paramount+

Review by C.J. Bunce

Streaming service Paramount+’s 2021 release Infinite has elements of Fast & Furious, Doctor Strange, Bloodshot, Captain America: Winter Soldier, New Mutants, The Adjustment Bureau, and Mortal Kombat.  Lots of tropes are blended into this expensive, giant, sci-fi action fantasy mash-up.  Infinite isn’t as good as any of these movies, but if you subscribe to Paramount+ you’ll find worse ways to spend a few hours.

The biggest surprise is Infinite is not derived from an existing property like a video game or comic book.  At the center is Mark Wahlberg as a man named Evan McCauley, raised to believe he was schizophrenic (a la Moon Knight) only to find he is part of a supernatural truth where 500 people have the power to recall their reincarnated pasts, and he’s one of them–only he doesn’t remember.

More than that it ties together the ideas behind Albert Brooks’ comedy Defending Your Life (complete with a Past Lives Pavilion), Altered Carbon’s futuristic memory “stack” technology, and the overall framework and worldbuilding behind Assassin’s Creed.  It has the feel of Assassin’s Creed, but it’s better than that franchise’s movie adaptation.

Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer, The Magnificent Seven) goes full bore into the action.  The production design is a mix of James Bond and Fast & Furious.  Sophie Cookson (The Kingsman) is a badass from Wahlberg’s character’s past who leads him to find out about his past.  One character, Liz Carr’s Garrick, seems to be derived from The Incredibles’ supersuit maker Edna Mode.  But Doctor Strange’s Chiwetel Ejiofor is the main co-star, as the 2020 version of a man named Bathurst, another Infinite like McCauley, but one who went down a wrong path over the past 300 years.  It’s a set-up like Netflix’s The Old Guard, but this film has a better development of its world.

This is a typical Wahlberg star vehicle, like Fuqua’s Shooter.  What makes this movie work is Wahlberg’s consistency–his goofy, cocky self is back again (think of his confused and surprised but industrious characters in Transformers or The Happening).  The film has a good soundtrack, courtesy of Harry Gregson-Williams (Mulan, The Meg, The Equalizer, Domino).  And again, it’s the kind of movie Assassin’s Creed fans would have found to be closer to the game universe than its movie adaptation.  The story in Infinite is based on an ambitious, if entirely convoluted, story by D. Eric Maikranz.

Infinite isn’t a great movie, but it has some well-executed action sequences, with massive explosions, car crashes, car and motorcycle chases, Tom Cruise/Mission Impossible airplane action, hand-to-hand combat, and sci-fi, futuristic visual and special effects.  It will be a fun few hours for fans of big action movies who enjoy the addition of fantasy elements.  It’s a surreal place–much more interesting a world for storytelling than The Matrix.  The movie includes an opening for a sequel, but it seems unlikely to happen.  Catch Infinite now, streaming on Paramount+, and available here at Amazon on digital and disc home video.


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