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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

The Bricklayer (MA) - 110 minutes

Just who isn’t corrupt? That might be the question best asked in the action thriller The Bricklayer.

 

The CIA is in the firing line, literally and figuratively.

 

Someone is blackmailing the agency by assassinating foreign journalists and making it look like the CIA is responsible.

 

That someone appears to be Radek (Clifton Collins Jr.), formerly on the payroll, who lost his family and went rogue after the agency turned on him.

 

Now the body count is growing in what has become an international conspiracy.

 

The USA’s reputation is being shredded and the CIA is at risk of imploding.

The agent who identified Radek in CCTV footage is supervisor Kate Bannon (Nina Dobrev), who has no field experience.

 

Arrogant agency heavyweight O’Malley (Tim Blake Nelson) has to nip this situation in the bud before the fallout is insurmountable.

 

To that end, he pairs Kate with a brilliant but rebellious operative who he prevails upon to come out of retirement.

 

He is known as The Bricklayer, aka Steve Vail (Aaron Eckhart), because laying bricks appears to give him solace. And, he carries his tools with him wherever he goes.

 

All roads lead to Thessaloniki, Greece.

 

It is there that Vail throws the rulebook out the window, reconnecting with his former life partner and now head of station, Tye (Ilfenesh Hadera).

 

On his side is his former comrade in arms, Patricio (Oliver Trevena).

 

Vail knows Radek well because he used to be his handler.

 

He also fears that wet behind the ears Kate will be a severe liability in trying to find Radek and bring him down.

 

Indeed, Kate takes several missteps, but the unlikely pairing may be the only thing that sees both of them through to the finish.

 

With violence and bloodshed aplenty, The Bricklayer is your typical knockdown, one man against the world, actioner.

Suffice to say, it is Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2) in the director’s chair.

 

The film is based on a 2011 book of the same name, written by Noah Boyd.

 

The plot has all sorts of convolutions and, as a result, becomes difficult to follow.

 

What underlines it though is straight forward – the idea of opposites attracting, namely The Bricklayer and Kate.

 

Aaron Eckhart plays Steve Vail as a bloke willing to run through a brick wall, who adopts an “I know best” attitude throughout.

 

Along the way, he readily disposes of dozens of thugs, bouncing back in seconds, even after being shot and pounded.

 

Vail sees Kate as an unnecessary intrusion and, in short, works around her.

 

Nina Dobrev adopts an at times apologetic, duck out of water persona.

 

Tim Blake Nelson goes for intimidation as their superior, O’Malley, while Clifton Collins Jr. is a poker-faced killer.

 

I wasn’t sold on Ilfenesh Hadera as head of station.

 

In fact, most of the characterisations are single dimensional. I am hardly speaking about top shelf acting here.

 

Still, The Bricklayer lays it on thick when it comes to high octane action and, I dare say, that is what cinema goers attending this one would be wanting.

 

The plot, such that it is, is almost an excuse to turn on the vitriolic tap.

 

Rated M, the movie scores a 6 out of 10.

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