The only major movie this weekend is the graphic novel adaptation, “I, Frankenstein” starring Aaron Eckhart as the famous movie monster. This movie marks the 4th wide release to not be screened for critics. That is almost a vote of no confidence from a movie studio. So does Frankenstein’s monster join the ranks of Hercules, Ride Along and Devil’s Due or is it closer in quality to Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit?
I, Frankenstein is meant to be seen as a direct continuation of Mary Shelley’s classic tale. The action picks up immediately after the creature (Eckhart) buries his creator, Victor Frankenstein. Before he’s finished burying the body, a group of hooded demons attempt to capture the creature. He is then saved by a few gargoyles that have come to life.
It turns out that there has long been a war of good and evil between the gargoyle army and the fallen demons from Hell. The gargoyles are essentially angels meant to protect mankind. They are led by Leonore (Miranda Otto) and her trusted warrior Gideon (Jai Courtney). The demons are followers of Naberius, (Bill Nighy) prince of the underworld. These demons have sought Frankenstein so they can find out how Dr. Frankenstein originally created life, so they can create an army of powerful undead.
I, Frankenstein is brought to us by the producers of the Underworld movie series and it’s clearly evident. It’s nearly a cut-and-paste redo of the “epic” war between lycans and vampires. Aaron Eckhart plays Kate Beckinsale’s role as the monster caught in the middle of the crossfire. I’d rather see Beckinsale, thank you kindly. We even get Bill Nighy chewing up the scenery as the villainous mastermind. He has the amazing talent of playing in numerous mediocre movies with his career still intact.
To be honest, the action in I, Frankenstein is not bad. There is no shortage of combat. The bad CG effects are cleverly covered up by the fire comets that descend to Hell after a demon is killed. In every action sequence, Eckhart is surrounded by a form of Chinese New Year.
Eckhart will be sure to pick up his paycheck for this role that doesn’t require much of him. He never raises his voice above a gravely, brooding mutter. He almost plays the character as if he were in a dark fantasy noir film. You know, if a noir was comprised of angelic gargoyles and demons that transform into Dennis Hopper dinosaur from the Mario Bros movie.
This isn’t an offensively terrible movie. It’s just bland. It fits in well with the Underworld series, so if you appreciate those movies, you’ll be satisfied. There is a decent amount of action, but it gets muddied in this movie that never find its point or establishes an interesting mythology.
You won’t hate the experience, but it’s one that could easily be skipped.