Final Frequency has one of the best taglines a movie poster has ever seen. How can a person not watch a movie that boldly claims, “Nikola Tesla’s secret notebook just fell into the wrong hands”? Ethan Hawke’s Tesla may have wowed audiences within the last year, but the fact of the matter is, there are not many movies about the inventor. Especially when it comes to his secret notebook.
Aside from being about Tesla’s mysterious tome, the film is about a group of scientists who are planning to bring down all of Los Angeles by creating a gigantic earthquake. Their reasons are vague (it may have something to with purifying humanity or it could be just for EVIL reasons). Thankfully, college student Esther Dahlset (Kirby Bliss Blanton) and others are there to stop them.
As plots go, it is pretty silly. Of course, the same can be said for many action films, including some of the most popular ones in the James Bond franchise. The bigger issue in Final Frequency is none of it goes together. The script ends up being a bunch of random things that happen to share one idea. A lot of stuff happens that seem to be in service of the overall plot, but little of it makes any sense.
An argument can be made that this is an accurate description for many fast paced films. And in defense of Final Frequency, a lot of these films do prioritize action over story. The difference is in good storytelling all the ideas are supposed to flow between each other. Everything is important. There is a common idea (or ideas) that bring everything together, but each part should have meaning.
Final Frequency has bad guys to beat and lives to save, but other than that, there are few moments – if any – that are necessary to the plot. This means there are red herrings that have no connection to the film, random LARPers (in the most literal sense), and a person featured prominently on the poster having little bearing on what actually happens. It is funny after the fact, but frustrating while watching.
There are some laughs to be had of the WTF variety, but they do not save Final Frequency. The audience will be spending too much time trying to figure out how everything goes together to laugh at what they are seeing. That never equals a good time. It is too goofy to be bad, but too bad to be fun.
Final Frequency comes to VOD August 31
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