07th Sep2021

‘The Gateway’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Shea Whigham, Olivia Munn, Taryn Manning, Frank Grillo, Bruce Dern, Keith David, Mark Boone Junior, Zach Avery, Alexander Wraith, Jay Hieron, Taegen Burns, Nick Daly, Richard Strauss, Shannon Adawn | Written by Michele Civetta, Andrew Levitas, Alex Felix Bendaña | Directed by Michele Civetta

I have been known from time to time watch a flick based solely on its cast. Take Sam Rockwell for instance, the trailer could be awful but I’m still going to watch it because it’s Sam ‘freaking’ Rockwell. Recently Frank Grillo has made his way onto this list after a string of spot on supporting roles and the odd leading man performance… So you can imagine my giddy glee to see the man teaming up with The Newsroom‘s Olivia Munn for an “action thriller” romp. The movie is called The Gateway and I’m about to get into it for you all right now!

Parker (Shea Whigham) is a social work officer type thing who loves to drink, has a semi interesting backstory about being a boxer we don’t really get into and cares way to much about the people he is supposedly protecting as he essentially puts them in more danger than they were in. One such parent is Dahlia (Olivia Munn) whose deadbeat baby daddy is recently released from prison and immediately goes back to work for his old boss Duke (Grillo). Stuff and things begin to happen as Parker inserts himself into the protector role and we move down a dark road to hopeful redemption for our hero who is actually 70% of an asshole.

I’m going to start with a couple of positives here and the big one being Taegan Burns as Ashley the daughter of Munn. Burns doesn’t have a whole heap to do here but she steals the movie and breaks that stereo type of somewhat annoying child actor. After her stint on the Mighty Ducks TV show I was intrigued to see her next move and this was interesting to say the least.

Mark Boone Junior (Sons of Anarchy) and Bruce Dern show up for a few scenes and are both great but under-utilised. Keith David awkwardly walks into a scene and drops a plot point that could of been interesting but doesn’t really go anywhere and kind of had me wondering if he was actually meant to be in this film at all or had literally wandered onto the set.

Now for the top billed and I’m starting with Shea Whigham who for me was really underwhelming. I am not sure if he spent the bulk of this movie an inch away from being actually drunk or just can’t act drunk. I hate to say that he was awkward and clunky but the dialogue wasn’t helping him along either. I spent a chunk of this movie wondering why Grillo wasn’t playing the social worker guy. Grillo is fairly good in this role but seems to bring a performance that is above this movie. Olivia Munn is passable but she has been way better.

All in all, my rush to watch The Gateway based on its cast was a tad misjudged. The movie is fine and does what it sets out to do. However the cast is better than the actual movie and that leads to a somewhat jarring chasm of talent versus art. the flick doesn’t really do anything wrong other than cast much stronger actors than this material warranted and then I suspect leave a bunch of stuff on the cutting room floor. I really felt like there was a bunch missing here.

For me I’m gonna plum straight down the line with a 2½ stars… The Gateway does look great and has a decent soundtrack to it but it’s a bit of a floppy dong in terms of entertainment, no real new ground is covered and everyone involved are in the same position for me after the movie as they were before it.

**½  2.5/5

Signature Entertainment are set to release The Gateway in the UK on digital platforms 27th September and DVD on 5th October

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