Mark Wahlberg is no stranger to big, popular films and his latest is a prime example as it sits at number two on the Paramount+ streaming service. Infinite tells the story of life reborn again and again and again. Reincarnation and those who live multiple lives.
Infinite first finds itself in Mexico City in 1985 where Heinrich Treadway (Dylan O’Brien) is on the run from authorities and a man who calls himself Bathurst. Heinrich has stolen something called “The Egg” from Bathurst. As he escapes, Heinrich talks to his associates, Abel and Leona, about “The Egg”. He tells them that if he doesn’t survive, they must look inside the egg. As Heinrich makes his escape, Bathurst arrives and kills Abel and Leona.
Mark Wahlberg plays Evan McCauley, a man in the present who suffers from schizophrenia. He is unable to hold a job because of his past violent behavior, so needing meds, he takes a job forging a katana for a local gangster, though McCauley’s never had any formal training as a bladesmith. When the deal goes south, Evan finds himself on the run but is eventually arrested. At the police station, a man approaches him and starts to call Mark Wahlberg by the name Treadway. The man introduces himself as Bathurst and tells McCauley that they have known each other for centuries.
As Mark Wahlberg’s character, Evan, begins to remember his past, a car slams into the police station. Nora Brightman rescues Evan and takes him to a group she is part of. She explains to Evan that there are a group of individuals around the globe who have the ability to recall their past lives. They are called infinites.
Within these infinites, two groups have been created. One is the Believers, a group that feels their ability to remember is a gift to make the world better. The other group, the Nihilists, feel this gift is a curse. They believe they were created to see the world self-destruct. To be free of it, they need to exterminate all life on the planet.
Both sides believe that Mark Wahlberg is Heinrich’s reincarnation. Both need to possess the Egg to satisfy the means to an end. As Evan learns and recalls more and more about his past life, he learns that Bathurst killed him not long after he killed both Abel and Leona. Nora is Leona reincarnated.
It’s slowly revealed that over the centuries, Heinrich and Bathurst fought side by side, both believing in life after death. As the fighting continued, Bathurst became disillusioned with the mission and decided to stop reincarnation. The Egg was the result and when activated, it will attack the DNA of any living being, thus destroying life and stopping reincarnation.
The hunt is now on for The Egg. Evan/Heinrich finds himself in a fight for life as we know it as the race for The Egg intensifies.
Antoine Fuqua directed Infinite from a script written by Ian Shorr. Fuqua’s name alone – being attached to such respected films as Training Day, The Magnificant Seven, Shooter, The Equalizer, and Southpaw – should make Infinite high on anyone’s must-see list. Pairing Mark Wahlberg with Antoine Fuqua would also seem like a sure-fire hit. Add in a wonderful supporting cast that includes O’Brien as well as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sophie Cookson, Jason Mantzoukas, Rupert Friend, and Toby Jones, and the recipe for success is solid. But something went wrong if one is to believe critics.
The film sits at a pathetic 15% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes and even more troubling is that audiences only rate it a little better at 34%. Carla Renata from RogerEbert.com sums it up perfectly when she says, “The premise of reincarnation and star power can’t save this film from its sci-fi abyss.” Mark Wahlberg is no stranger to poorly reviewed films. If you are to believe critics, he has been involved with dreck like Max Payne, Transformers: The Last Knight, Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Happening, Daddy’s Home 2, and Mile 22.
But Mark Wahlberg is also noted for some excellent films that include Three Kings, Boogie Nights, The Departed, Patriots Day, The Other Guys, and Lone Survivor. Marky Mark has definitely lived a critical roller coaster of a movie career.
As it is with most movies, personal taste wins out. Critics have their opinion, many times not seeing eye-to-eye with the general public. But the questions beg. Does the film merit the attention it’s gaining with its number two ranking or is it simply a number two? And what about the “Scarlett Johansson/Black Widow” vibe we are getting from Mark Wahlberg concerning Infinite‘s release? (The star is reportedly furious about the movie not getting a traditional release in theaters.)
Do the critics have it right in how bad the film stinks or is there something in it they aren’t seeing? Make up your mind by watching Mark Wahlberg in Infinite on the streaming service Paramount+.