What can I say? I’m back again to breakdown a trailer. And this time, I’m feeling a little masochistic. Today’s offering is 24 Hours to Live, a high-octane trope-fest that is almost plays like a YouTube parody. It’s very hard to talk about a trailer without occasionally veering off into talking about what the movie itself looks like it is going to be, so apologies, but that will probably happen. But isn’t that what trailers are for anyway? Speculation? Well, this trailer doesn’t particularly incite much speculation, to be honest. What you see is what you get. What you get is a lot. This trailer manages to pack in an incredible amount of tropes, and just like its hero, it cannot be stopped.
The trailer opens with main character Travis Conrad (Ethan Hawke)—unfortunately not in a horror role or, really, a role he looks comfortable in at all—lying in what looks to be a hospital bed, being operated on. We are gifted a stereotypical monologue, before the real parody kicks in—the plot. Our main character was betrayed by the agency, they took his family, his future and they wouldn’t even let him die in peace. From there he springs out of the bed and begins murdering people until we are left with what I assume is a very lucky ‘doctor’ who tells him he only has 24 hours left to live. Cue title sequence!
Doctor Lucky-dude reveals a countdown time on Hawke’s forearm a la In Time (something that didn’t seem good enough to warrant a rip-off). We cut to a phone call, with some jazzy music playing in the background, signalling the arrival of our next trope. Conrad has to finish ‘one last job’, but of course he declines (he’s just too damn badass for that) and instead goes for vengeance. From here, everything picks up to the fever pitch action movie trailer pace. Action is intercut with one-liners straight from an action-movie algorithm—“They don’t play nice.” “Well neither do I.”; “He’s one hell of a weapon with nothing to lose.” Cue title card. More action unfolds, but this time with a few explosions sprinkled in, and we are done.
This trailer skirts the fine line of being a serious action blockbuster and, well, a joke. With the amount of tropes and one-liners packed in to a two-minute video, you at times just can’t really tell if the film is even legitimate. I don’t mind watching a film that is an over-the-top cheese-fest, and sometimes it almost feels as if you’re in on a joke with the creators about how, well, stupid everything is. But the trailer for 24 Hours to Live seems to be skewing towards making the situations in this flick feel gritty, serious and realistic—and they very obviously aren’t any of those things. We have seen this same story retread continually, and in turn, the same trailer continually. This leaves me with no speculation about what is going to happen in the story. Instead, I am just speculating about how they are going to play this. Are the filmmakers in on the joke? Will it be so bad it’s good?
The trailer did achieve one thing. I may buy a ticket just to find out.