NEVER TOO LATE – A Review by Cynthia Flores

NEVER TOO LATE – A Review by Cynthia Flores

This Australian movie is a bonafide feel-good film. And I don’t know about you, but I could use some good vibes right about now. I have always said that filmmakers missed a massive audience of moviegoers of a certain age that grew up going to the cineplexes. Senior citizens are like any other underserved group and long to see people that look like them up on the big screen with stories featuring them. It’s great to see the older actors dust themselves off and have fun making good films again. Director Mark Lamprell has made a sweet flick that ticks all the right boxes with his new movie Never Too Late.

It’s the story of four comrades from the Vietnam War that were part of a multinational elite shadow team called ‘The Chain Breakers.’ The team consisted of their leader Jack Bronson (James Cromwell) who hits hard and shoots straight, Jeremiah Caine (Dennis Waterman) as con-man and debonair playboy, tough bastard James Wendell (Roy Billings), and Angus Wilson (Jack Thompson) who can fix any machine on the face of the planet. They were notorious for rescuing people during the war and were captured and imprisoned at a torturous Vietnamese POW camp called the Hanoi Hilton. They were there for over a year when the team managed to escape and finally go home.

Well, fifty years have gone by, and they all accidentally reconnect at the Hogan Hills Retirement Home for military veterans in Australia. The place is set up like a fancy prison for old folks that serves pudding on Tuesdays. The security is tight to supposedly protect their charges from wandering away and getting hurt. It’s there that Bronson signs himself in to meet up with Norma McCarthy (Jacki Weaver) the love of his life. She’s widowed and starting to show signs of dementia, so she has checked herself into the facility. Bronson is determined to do what he should have done fifty years prior, ask her to marry him while she still remembers who he is. Unfortunately for the pair, Norma is moved out to another home for three months of treatments in a medical study for dementia patients. When Bronson tries to leave and join her, he finds out that he signed away his freedom when he checked himself in. So he’s forced to find a way out to get to his Norma. This puts him at odds with Lin (Renee Lim), the manager in charge of Hogan Hills, who has a secret of her own regarding ‘The Chain Breakers.’

Thanks to a smart and nerdy kid named Elliot (Zachary Wan) whose mom works at the home and lets him stay with her after school, Bronson finds out that the rest of his team is at the facility. Once reunited, they ultimately discover that each of the men has an unrealized dream they want to achieve before it is too late. So, they must once again band together and devise a plan to escape a fortress. The rules of engagement have changed, hell Wilson can’t even remember what they were most of the time, and that’s half the problem. All of the men show the scars that the ravages of time can leave on the body and the mind. They have to work around it all as a team to achieve what they are fighting for. They will have to lean on the brotherhood forged in the war to make it to the end this time.

Never Too Late is funny and heartbreaking at the same time. It deals with real issues that growing old can throw at you. Although it uses humor to deal with the subjects, I liked how it never made fun of them in a mean-spirited way. Since this is also a caper film that has to be accomplished by senior citizens, the chases’ pacing is understandably a bit slower. Think of it as a cross between the 1963 movie The Great Escape and the 1965 TV show Hogan’s Heroes. Then cast it in a nursing home, and you have this film.

I give Never Too Late a 4-star rating. It’s a fun and romantic ride of a film that confirms what the late great Bette Davis once said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies!”

 

Directed by: Mark Lamprell

Written by: Luke Preston, Grant Carter

Rated NR

Running Time: 98min

Comedy/ Caper / Romance

Release: Virtual Cinemas July 10th

Starring: James Cromwell, Jackie Weaver, Dennis Waterman, Jack Thompson, Shane Jacobson, Roy Billing

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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