A mercenary finds himself feeling something he never felt before and faces some dire consequences in this thriller sci-fi drama from Ivan Sen.
In Hong Kong, Jack is a mercenary who does his job and has practically no emotions. After completing his missions, he goes to various places where he is with love robots who don’t feel like he does. However, one day, his life takes a drastic turn. Going to a local nightclub, Jack meets April, the local karaoke singer. Jack begins to feel something he never felt. He begins to feel attraction to April, and she begins to reciprocate those feelings.
As Jack finds himself falling in love for the first time, he begins to experience something very he never felt in a physical sense. He finds his body begin to slowly deteriorate. He tracks down Dr. Bergman, a local scientist who seeks to discover Jack’s origins as they could be related to his current condition. Despite a warning from Dr. Bergman to stay away from Jack, April is determined to help Jack in hopes they can stay with each other in this loveless world.
Writer-director Ivan Sen has come up with something very fresh and yet has the look and energy inspired by some great films. The setting of Hong Kong brings to mind an energy of a Johnnie To or Wong Kar-Wai film and even gives a bit of a Blade Runner inspired feel. However, this is more of an emotional tale with a sci-fi edge in which a stone-cold mercenary finds love and faces the consequence of feeling a physical deterioration and searches for answers.
Ryan Kwanten is great in the lead role of Jack. Kwanten conveys this stone-cold look and even narrates the film. We barely see Jack crack a smile and seems emotionless for a good portion. That is, until he slowly begins to fall for April, played in a star-making performance by relative newcomer Jillian Nguyen. April, like Jack, has this lack of emotion upon first meeting him. On the upside, Nguyen performs all of her songs in the film rather than be dubbed over. Once we see a connection between these two, it becomes the heart of the film.
The legendary Hugo Weaving tends to give off strong performances and this proves no different. Here, he plays scientist Dr. Bergman, who may be able to unlock the key to Jack’s newfound conditions of both feeling love and having his body slowly deteriorate as a result of this feeling. Bergman is far from a bad guy. As a matter of fact, there are no real good guys and bad guys in the film. Instead, we see Bergman attempting to do what he can to help Jack, even when he warns April that it is a better idea if Jack should avoid her. However, a question that may be answered is can love overcome a heart of stone?
Expired is quite an experience of a drama in a sci-fi world with inspirations from Hong Kong cinema with a small dash of Blade Runner mixed in. Ivan Sen brings something fresh to the film, thanks to excellent performances from Ryan Kwanten, Jillian Nguyen, and Hugo Weaving.
WFG RATING: A
Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment presents a Bunya Productions film. Director: Ivan Sen. Producers: David Jowsey, Angela Littlejohn, Ivan Sen, and Greer Simpkin. Writer: Ivan Sen. Cinematography: Ivan Sen. Editing: Ivan Sen.
Cast: Ryan Kwanten, Jillian Nguyen, Hugo Weaving, Lamar Brown, Andrew Ng, Kenishi Enomoto, Michael Chan, Brooke Nichole Lee, Cassidy-Rae Nicholson, Biance Wallace.
The film comes to selected theaters, On Demand, and Digital on March 18.