(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
Focus is a smart and fun movie to begin with, however, the ending got predictable and very outlandish.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Since I was a kid, Will Smith was one of my favorite actors growing up. Some say I was obsess, but I say it is normal teenage adoration. It started with the classic TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, where his comedy and demeanor made him a real likable character. That show really groomed him to be the great actor today. Then his first big role came in the movie Independence Day where he showed the world that he is ready to take on any role, and make it his way. You get a taste of Will Smith in almost every role. Even in his music, which I was a big fan of. You get drama, comedy, and a smoothness that only Will Smith can do. He shows this in some of my favorite movies like Bad Boys I and II, Men in Black franchise, Enemy of the State, and Hitch. He showed he got the acting chops when he played in Oscar nominating roles in Ali, where he really acted like boxer Muhammad Ali, and The Pursuit of Happyness. Will Smith got the whole package in his acting repertoire. Yes, lately his movies have been subpar to say the least, although I didn’t think After Earth was that bad. However, he still stands as one of the most prominent actor in Hollywood today, and a family who also enjoys the spotlight as well. As for the movie Focus, I knew it will have the Will Smith charm, but will it be a good movie. I guess it depends how you look at it.
What I Like: The story of this movie really focuses on a con man. I really liked how the story really develops the life of a man who cons people for a living. It shows not only how he does it, how smart and slick he is, and how he turns it into a team franchise in conning every person. It was very interesting to see Nicky Spurgeon, played by Will Smith, make pick pocketing so easy, and how he can predict what people will do when they act out a scene for their own benefit. He recruits a woman named Jess Barrett, played by Margot Robbie, who wants to be part of the team, but Nicky doesn’t find her ready yet. Until their conning trip to New Orleans where she stepped up her game, and impresses Nicky to have her in the big con event. Smith and Robbie had chemistry together even though I found Robbie’s character a little annoying, but it worked for this movie. One of my favorite parts in the movie was when they were at a football game, and Nicky and Jess were making random bets. This sparks up the interest of business man and compulsive gambler, Liyuan Tse played by B. D. Wong, who wanted in on the action. The stakes get higher and higher with each bet where Tse keeps winning. Nicky decides to do one more bet costing millions of dollars for Tse to pick one number of a player in the game, and that Jess could pick it out. Tse agrees and Jess picks the number 55 which was the number he picked, and Nicky wins back all the money he lost. I just love how this scene makes it seem Nicky was a wreckless gambler, but in the end, he had all planned out by subconsciously implementing the number 55 to Tse way before the game so when the time comes, he will pick that number. Nicky was under control the whole time, and pretty much conning an impulsive gambler to go his way. The movie turns to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I love how the movie portrays the beautifulness of the city of Buenos Aires. Here Nicky is hired by billionaire motorsport team owner, Rafael Garriga played by Rodrigo Santoro, to stage a con against his rival, McEwan played by Robert Taylor, in the big race by selling him a product that suppose to help him go faster, but instead go slower. During this con, Nicky meets up with Jess, after breaking up with their romance in New Orleans because he didn’t want to get too involved and break his focus with his business, and immediately start breaking his focus when he sees her with Garriga. His main plan was to sell it every person on the motorsport teams to make a huge profit. The story is like a Ocean’s Eleven type of story, where i do get an enjoyment out of these types of movies where you’re not sure their plan is working correctly or not, and of they even have a back plan. This movies create some of the best twists, and focus had that in the beginning of the movie.
The So So: As I said before, Margot Robbie’s character as Jess had great chemistry with Will Smith. However, her character seemed a little too annoying. she seems to not know what she is doing at first, but then proves herself to be part of the team. Then she acts like a goldigger with Nicky that just makes my eyes roll. When she tries to con Nicky as well, it just seems fake to me. However, her part is a big part of the story, and it worked. So I had to take it like it is.
What I Didn”t Like: The last part of the movie just became too outlandish for me. Nicky gets back with Jess, and finishes his conning business. However, he gets caught by Garriga’s people who found out what he did leading to a typical interrogation where Nicky and Jess are tied up and get beat up to get some answers. I knew that Nicky had a back plan to get out, but the way it happend was just dumb. Ends up he gets shot by Garriga’s head of security, Owens played by Gerald McRaney, which causes Garriga to leave and have him handle it. Ends up that Owens is actually Will Smith’s father who taught him everything about being a con man. He shoots him in a nonfatal area and fixes him so he can be ok until he gets to a hospital. During the end, he reprimands Nicky for losing his focus because of Jess, and as a punishment he takes all the money he made. However, Nicky did get back with Jess which all he cares about. I’m sorry, but for a smart movie to end that dumb really loses some points in my book. I was hoping for a Ocean’s Eleven type of ending, but instead I get an Austin Powers: Goldmember type of ending. I believe the writing got lazy at the end of this, or their brains just got damaged when writing the end, cuz it was a major deal breaker for me. I was very disappointed that it ended up as a romance movie in the end, instead of a con man wins at the end and gets the money type of movie.
Overall, it is an interesting movie to watch and be entertained. Hopefully the ending won’t ruin you as it did to me. However, if you’re an fan of Will Smith, you will enjoy his role in this movie because it has his charm and smoothness that will make you reassured that he hasn’t lost it!!!
Rating: 3.5 Stars
(Sidenote: No Good Deed- This movie had a great cast and started with some promise. It had Idris Elba playing a serial killer as a stalks and haunts the beautiful Taraji P. Henson by pretending he is a guy with car trouble. As I said it started out with promise, but the movie took a turn for the worst with thriller movies cliches and ending with plain stupidness. By the time you get to the twist, you don’t care. Wasted opportunity to see Elba playing a villain, and that is a shame.
Rating 2.5 Stars)
(Sidenote: Addicted- This movies stars the beautiful Sharon Leal as Zoe Reynard. A person who runs a successful artist marketing business, and has a great family. However, she has a sex addiction which causes her to cheat on her husband with two guys. The movie does show how bad sex addiction can be and affect your family.It was interesting to see where this story will go, but it just showed too much infidelity (with no nudity mind you), and the ending just became too corny. It was almost like a Tyler Perry movie where they have a problem as part of the story, but then they end the movie with the problem still intact. That annoys the heck out of me.
Rating: 2.5 Stars)