Annie, a beautiful and enigmatic waitress in a grimy, 24-hour, train station diner, greets shady customers and serves out hash with a side of sass.
Bill (Simon Pegg) is a dying English teacher whom she challenges as he tackles a greasy stack of fries. Vince and Alfred are a pair of hitmen who appear and disappear with various mysterious briefcases. Annie (Margot Robbie) sees everything and seems to lead a dangerous double life in the shadows of her underground employment. She and a janitor (Mike Myers) are the only two mainstays in this seedy, forgotten place.
Director Vaughn Stein unleashes all the cliches in his tool belt to evoke a film noir. Smog obscures the screen as a trench-coated silhouette walks down a path illuminated only by neon light: is this a recycled set from Sin City or are you just happy to see me? There’s really nothing new to see here and the whole thing is just a bit uninspired – or, well, inspired rather obviously by other, familiar things. Luckily for Terminal, I can’t keep my eyes off Margot Robbie. She’s an exceptionally eye-catching woman, but as her past few films have indicated, she’s also quite an actress. So while she’s the only reason to watch this film, it’s also a shame how badly it wastes her. The movie wants to be cleverer than it is. It wants to throw some real curve balls at you, but it has simply cut and pasted the Wikipedia entry for curve balls and put it on the screen. Yes, Robbie is sexy as hell, and sure, many men, and most women, would follow her down the depths of hell without too many questions. But she deserves to be a real character, flesh and blood, with machinations and motivations. Instead, Stein fails to ground this movie in anything solid – what are the rules of this universe? Where have these people come from? Why should we care? It’s all smoke and mirrors, it lives for the atmosphere but once the smoke clears, there’s just not much there, except Mike Myers being a distraction, acting like he’s in an SNL sketch.
And then the final 15 minutes are fantastically bad. The movie should have ended where those 15 minutes begin, and the movie still would have been empty and pointless. Instead we are punished for having endured the movie thus far and it veers off into such an unearned place that you could decorate the set of your own film noir just with the steam that’ll come out of your ears.