Dark Matter

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© 2018 by Dark Matter Media LLC

 
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Logline: Golf could be assassinating tool in proper hands.

Dark Matter Review

 

Overall Impression:

 

Golfer is an action-comedy with a soft underbelly of populism.  At its best, Golfer is reminiscent of True Lies, with a quick pulse and straightforward action-comedy.  While grammar and style need a lot of work, two structural factors ultimately hold the script back: 1) the tone is often serious despite a concept that is unbelievable to the point of silliness and 2) while some of the comedy in the script is clearly intentional, too much of the comedy struck us as unintentional.

What We Found Most Effective:

Golfer is tightly focused on Alex, the antihero, and Louisa, the powerful politician turned damsel in distress.  Endless Life, the corporate bad guy represented by the primary villains, Mr. Jacob and Sato, is also tightly linked to the primary plot and Golfer doesn't waste much time getting to the point.  The script has a clear three-act structure, and the narrow focus and small character count keeps the plot zipping along.

 

What We Found Least Effective

The “golfer” premise didn’t work for us.  At first, we thought perhaps the script would turn into a pure comedy.  Once it became clear that the script is meant to be played straight, we found that there are just too many holes in the theory.  Chief among them, why didn’t Alex simply use the traditional tools of the spy/assassin trade?  The golf balls and clubs don't seem to help him be more successful, or less likely to be caught.  Additionally, the golfer premise led to one too many absurd situations, e.g., golfer vs. sniper and later, golfer vs. samurai.

Suggestions For Improvement:

Big Picture Suggestions

  • There are a large number of grammatical, spelling and common usage errors.  Golfer is coherent, to be sure, but lacks the polish we expect of native speakers or writers for whom English is a second language but who have extensive training in English grammar, spelling and style.  We suggest collaborating with a native speaker or someone well trained in English to undertake a close copy edit.

 

  • Golfer has some comedic beats, but there are a number of scenes and phrases in which the comedy appeared to be unintentional.  We think more fully embracing comedy would go a long way with this script.  True Lies, Rush Hour and Kingsman all come to mind as good comparables if you consider a more comedic rewrite.

  • The Jacky Chan detective storyline was among the least compelling parts of the narrative.  The character and story seemed to be contrived to fill a few plot gaps, but had little emotional value.  Consider the movie Heat, for example. Lieutenant Hanna is roughly the equivalent to Jacky Chan in Golfer, and McCauley is roughly the equivalent to Alex.  In Heat, Lieutenant Hanna is a fully developed character, with his own motivations and emotional through line, independent of McCauley.  Hanna is a deep, emotionally fraught character that is integral to the script. We didn't get that same depth from Jack Chan.  Consider either cutting Jacky Chan, or reworking his character to help the audience invest in him emotionally.

Odds & Ends

  • Pg. 1-4. The tone of the opening sequence is hilarious (we hope it’s intentional humor, though at this point it’s hard to tell).  The “hole in one” pun made us snort on our coffee.

 

  • Pg. 5-7. We’re digging the globe trotting vibe, Beijing, Shanghai, Dubai. Definitely feels like an epic, highly stylized film.

  • Pg. 8-11. Mr. Jacob’s and Louisa’s back-to-back speeches are quite long (probably 2-3 minute of screen time, which is a lot for just two talking heads).  Is it all relevant to the plot?  Can you trim it a bit?

  • Pg. 12. Alex’s line “I love Shanghai.” Classic stuff, but can you put your own unique stamp on it? In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Dr. Jones delivers a memorable “Ah, Venice.”  It’s only a slight twist, but all the more memorable for it!

  • Pg. 15. We’re having trouble suspending disbelief on the idea that a government would pass a law allowing harvesting the life essence from half its population.

  • Pg. 16. Great death scene for Mr. Stanley – very gruesome.

  • Pg. 19. Jacky Chan’s crime scene investigation is cursory, at best.  We think the chief inspector of the gruesome murder of a billionaire would spend considerably more time on his first visit to the crime scene.

  • Pg. 24. The scene where the police strategize feels inaccurate. It’s the day after a murder, and none of the officers have interrogated, searched or even visited the building where the murderer had last been spotted, ostensibly because they didn’t think they had the right to access it.  We didn’t buy it.

  • Pg. 28-30. You might consider cutting the scene with Ronnie the cable guy.  It doesn’t add much, and felt a bit like filler.

  • Pg. 35-37. This is a unique meet-cute you’ve developed.  It has us giggling, but also scratching our heads to figure out Alex’s angle and what his real intentions are with Louisa.  Good vibe!

  • Pg. 41. If Alex is a cold blooded killer, in it for the cash, and has taken a $10MM contract, it seems like he would kill his target at the first opportunity. No time to think/debate the merits or learn why he shouldn't follow through. Yet Alex doesn’t act on the easy opportunity he had (he was in her house).  A scene after Alex doesn’t kill his target, he learns that the target is fighting for good.  This strikes us as backwards – shouldn’t he learn all the good things about his target before changing his mind on backing out of his contract?  Usually in these contract killer type movies, the assassin would face severe consequences for taking a contract but not carrying it out.

  • Pg. 50. Louisa appears to be warming up to Alex very, very quickly.  One minute Alex is the cable guy, fixing the TV in Louisa’s mansion.  The next minute, she’s hooking his arm as they step out for an elegant dinner.  We’re having trouble believing it, no matter how suave of a cable guy Alex is.

  • Pg. 55. Who is Louisa talking to in the taxi?  Herself?  The taxi driver?  If you want to convey how she’s feeling, perhaps she could be talking to a friend on her cell phone.

  • Pg. 58. We don’t buy it that the taxi driver would keep driving.  Why wouldn’t he stop?

  • Pg. 63-65. Classic girlfriend stich-up scene.  We can fee Louisa’s walls breaking down – nice work.

  • Pg. 68. Louisa appearing with a bottle of wine and two glasses feels too soon.  Just a few hours earlier she stormed out of a dinner with Alex.  Yes, he saved her life, but what does that change?  Why would she suddenly place this much trust in him?

  • Pg. 71. We didn’t understand Jacky Chan’s second dialogue entry.

  • Pg. 75. We think Louisa would react negatively to Alex giving her kids a tracking-enabled device, no matter his intentions, especially sine Alex already admitted that he was hired to kill Louisa.  It's just a creepy thing to do.

  • Pg. 78. It seems highly unlikely that the police would take direction from Alex in this scenario.  Also, would Louisa really want the police/Alex to go in as a swat team?  Or would she prefer to give in to the demands of the kidnaper and pay the ransom (i.e., drop her opposition to the law)?

  • Pg. 83. Golfer vs. sniper – lol!

  • Pg. 86. Golfer vs. samurai – hilarious!  But seriously, golf clubs are light weight and relatively brittle.  A samurai sword would slice through a golf club like it was made of tinfoil.

  • Pg. 90. We get that the script needs a final kick – but wouldn’t the police have put extra security on Louisa after the kidnapping of her kids and attempt on her life?  A second kidnapping is just sort of stale.

  • Pg. 93. Oh boy, Alex running into the main villain’s liar swinging his golf club when every one else has a gun is pretty silly.

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