The Things You Find On Netflix: Paradox (dir by Michael Hurst)


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Poor Zoe Bell!

Zoe Bell is a kickass stuntwoman and a better than average actress.  Ever since she appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, she’s had a strong cult following and there are people who will definitely watch any film in which she appears.  I like her because she always plays strong, independent women who can kick ass better than any man.

But — with the exception of Death Proof and Raze — it’s hard not to feel that her unique talents have been largely wasted in many of the movies in which she has appeared.  I have to admit that I even groaned a little when she showed up in The Hateful Eight, largely because I knew it would just be another pointless cameo where she would only be allowed a few minutes to talk about being from New Zealand before being killed in some dramatic fashion.

(Seriously, Quentin — we all know you love Zoe Bell so why not write her another worthwhile role, instead of just using her as your latest directorial trademark?  Write her a role and a film worthy of her!)

The latest film to waste Zoe Bell is Paradox, a sci-fi slasher film that you can currently find on Netflix.

Paradox is a time travel movie and I’m a little bit hesitant to talk too much about the plot because the plot sounds a lot more interesting than it actually is.  Gale (Zoe) and Jim (Adam Huss) are part of a team of scientists and engineers who have built a time machine in an underground bunker.  The mysterious Mr. Landau (Malik Yorba) has shown up to be given a demonstration of how the machine works.  (Meanwhile, the NSA is sitting outside the bunker, hoping to figure out what’s going on.  It turns out that they have a mole working on the inside and blah blah blah…)

Now, you would think that a time machine would be a pretty cool thing to have but it turns out that the machine has a few flaws.  First off, there’s the fact that the mere existence of the machine forces people to engage in ponderous dialogue about paradoxes, time loops, and whether or not the future is set in stone.  Secondly, the machine also gives anyone who uses it minor brain damage.  Third, after Jim uses the machine to jump forward an hour, he returns and announces that, in the future, everyone in the underground bunker has been murdered!

That’s right — there’s a killer among the scientists!  Who could it be!?  And could that killer possibly be working for the mysterious Stephen Devlin, a man who apparently used the time machine to become a billionaire in the future and who now has to make sure that the scientists in his past don’t destroy the machine in the present?  (My head hurts after typing that.)

It’s full of twists and turns and secrets.  But it really doesn’t matter because the execution is never as good as the premise.  Paradox is one of those films that should be great but instead, it ends up collapsing under the weight of a low budget, a bad script, terrible performances, and indifferent direction.  Zoe Bell is pretty much wasted, though she at least gets to do more here than she did in The Hateful Eight.

Paradox was given a brief and very limited theatrical run before coming over to Netflix.  In fact, if not for the fact that watching Hardcore Henry actually left me feeling physically ill, I would be tempted to declare Paradox to be the worst film of the year so far.

As I said, Paradox is on Netflix right now.  It’s one to avoid.