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With: Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Dexter Fletcher, Max Irons, Mike Myers
Written by: Vaughn Stein
Directed by: Vaughn Stein
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 90
Date: 05/11/2018
IMDB

Terminal (2018)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Nervous Station

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It could be that the age of movie stars is over, replaced by an age of franchises, but Margot Robbie is nevertheless hanging onto it with sharp nails.

Opening Friday in Bay Area theaters, her new Terminal is one of those movies that isn't terribly memorable on its own. But Robbie is memorable in it, and she very nearly makes it worth seeing; if this were the age of Garbo, Robbie's die-hard fans would flock to it, and they would get what they came for.

In Terminal she plays a character not terribly far away from her now-legendary Harley Quinn (the only likable thing about that misfire Suicide Squad), an alluring beauty with the face of an angel and the soul of a devil.

She's Annie, a sassy server in a dingy all-night cafe in the dingiest corner of a train station in some sprawling, anonymous city.

In this pulpy crime story, three key customers wander in. Two are hitmen. One is the older, harder Vince (Dexter Fletcher) and the other is a young apprentice, "Alf" (Max Irons). They are impatiently awaiting an assignment from a mysterious source, "Mr. Franklyn."

The other is Bill (Simon Pegg), a teacher with a terminal illness looking for ways to run out the clock.

She brings them coffee and whatnot and slowly begins to slip inside their lives and businesses. She flirts with the younger hitman while proclaiming her disgust for the older one.

As for Bill, she begins trying to convince him that an amazing suicide would be better than moping around for the rest of his days.

Meanwhile, a station attendant wanders about. He's played by Mike Myers doing what Mike Myers does, slathered in makeup, fake teeth, a wild accent, affecting a limp, etc.

Terminal is written and directed by Vaughn Stein, a former assistant director on some big productions (World War Z, Beauty and the Beast, etc.) making his own feature debut.

His underground world is beautifully gaudy and steely, with cavernous corridors, all angular shadows and nagging neon lights.

The characters are another story. They, of course, are not who they seem to be, but the trouble is that being not what they seem to be is precisely how they seem.

There's no surprise when the facade is pulled down and the squirmy things underneath are exposed; it's yet another take on the old Usual Suspects denouncement, the actual evil plan illuminated by "ah-hah!" flashbacks. It's impressed by itself, but otherwise unimpressive.

It's an anticlimactic climax, but there is still Robbie. She definitely has something special, something unique for a bombshell in a long history of movie bombshells. All diamonds and marshmallows, she's savvy, smart, and kittenish, capable of a kiss or a wink that has the effect of a bullet.

She refuses to be overshadowed. When she's not outright stealing scenes (About Time, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I, Tonya, etc.), she has enough burning ferocity to equal powerful male co-stars like Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street) or Will Smith (Focus and Suicide Squad).

Even a notorious mugger like Myers is no match for her here.

So, yes, if movie stars are still a thing in this world, Ms. Robbie is a bright one, and even though Terminal isn't much, it offers a chance to watch her shine.

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