YOU WERE WARNED.
THAT IS ALL.
October 30, 2015
By JAVAN H.
Hide your sons, hide your Lyons, hide your cookies; Taraji P. Henson turns it ALL the way up in the 2014 thriller No Good Deed, now on TV and On Demand. I first saw the Sam Miller/Will Packer film during its opening week at the former UA CitiPlace Theater, now Movie Tavern, as one of my “Movie Tuesdays,” a one-man tradition since 2012. However, I’m not afforded the, um, ~*~benefits~*~ of being able to spend on downloads, the few movies that I do actually watch. Luckily for me, I’ve been blessed with a digital box, now able to shack up on a rainy evening to watch one of my all-time favorite flicks.
Everyone’s heard the phrase ‘no good deed goes unpunished’—yeah, tell me about it—and the movie stays true to that classic Oscar Wilde phrase. Taraji P. Henson (Empire, Person of Interest) plays Terri, an Atlanta-based prosecutor-turned-housewife who longs for the affection and respect of her husband Jeffrey, played by Henry Simmons (NYPD Blue, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). He leaves her at home with the kids as he travels out of town to visit his father. A rainstorm comes that very night, the perfect time for a large, dark Black stranger to land on her porch at 17 Creston Lane.
Enter Idris Elba (The Wire).
Elba plays Colin, a convicted murderer who escaped prison in Tennessee at the very top of the movie. He makes his way back to Atlanta to stalk Alexis, his fiancée played by telenovela star Kate del Castillo, after finding evidence of her cheating on him, evidence in the form of a letter marked…17 Creston Lane. But unbeknownst to her, Colin’s been feelin’ a little lonely. I mean, who wouldn’t after five years in prison? So what happened? Did they make wild passionate sex, like, some convict love in the hot tub with whipped cream and…okay, well, it was wild, it was passionate…but more in the form of Colin snapping her neck in half.
Now he’s on a mission to find the mysterious 17 Creston Lane. He takes his stolen Ford Ranger down the long, dark and winding roads of Buckhead—I’m very familiar with those—before staging a collision with a tree. To be honest, I never would have thought of that. Keep that sentence in mind. Upon finding the home, Colin approaches Terri in need of a tow. Though reluctant, she offers him her house phone while making a few sweet eyes and preening as his back was turned. I mean, she can’t just let the Black-lady-heartthrob get soaking wet in that deluge of rain like Flashdance, right? Naturally, she let the stranger into her home and patched his wounds. What a feeling!
Colin and Terri got to know each other better, as he watched her prepare supper for her two young kids.
“I’m a prosecutor, but…my hubs is iffy with me. I miss my old spark. LUCIOUS!!!!”
“I’m a murderrrrrmy fiancée cheated on me…”
Enter Meg, played by Leslie Bibb (Talladega Nights).
Armed with wine, Terri’s horny best friend and realtor gets to know Colin, scoping out his knowledge of the neighborhood while fantasizing about his knowledge of… But like a true realtor, Meg quickly realizes that something’s off. She and Colin go on a smoke break while Terri checks on the kids, now asleep upstairs. He makes a brazen implication about Terri, causing Meg to call him out. Too bad Terri would never find out about it from her.
After heading back inside to cover his ass, Colin snoops through pictures and mail around the house. He then accosts Terri, who earlier lied about where her husband was. Terri looks around; Meg’s umbrella is there, but Meg isn’t. The knives are missing, the phone lines are cut and BOOM, the power goes out.
“Colin? Colin! I can explain!”
Too late. The lights return, and Colin’s ready to play…with her daughter Ryan. Horror runs through Terri’s body as she sees him bouncing the young girl in the air, with a Glock in his back left pocket like the Missy Elliot song. Mama bird managed to coerce Colin away from the child, later whacking him down the stars with a fire extinguisher before trying to make a run for it. But the man of steel defied certain death, forcing her to put the kids back and nearly raping her in the master bathroom. Or maybe not...
“Colin, please don’t do this.”
“Don’t flatter yourself.”
“Wait, what?? F**K you!”
Terri tries again to knock Colin out, but to no avail. He then decides to take a trip around the corner in her vehicle, which has a dodgy alarm; no, Colin didn’t give her gas money. Terri then sees where Meg’s been “hiding.” During the ride, she tried to talk Colin down, as I alluded to before, by making it clear that most criminals aren’t that smart—they all get caught eventually. But Colin’s puppy dog eyes remain alert as he eyeballs his crashed Ranger.
“Don’t even think about it. Keep driving.”
Fatigue gets the best of Colin as he dozes off. At an intersection, Terri manages to use her brights to signal an oncoming squad car. Colin awakes, Terri plays it off, and the cop eventually makes a U-turn to question them. Now with her newborn in jeopardy, Terri drops hints to the officer, proving futile as Colin quickly snuffs one of Atlanta’s finest and rolls him into the ditch.
The joyride continues. The destination: Alexis’ home, as seen earlier in the film.
“Terri, Alexis. Alexis, Terri.”
POW! Thunder hits, causing the Honda CR-V’s alarm to sound once again. Separated from her kids, Colin ties Terri up while he goes out to kill the noise. Luckily for her, he has a much harder time fixing it than before, as she manages to use a shard of porcelain to free herself and answer a phone under the bed. Whose phone was it? Who was on the other line? This is when you check out No Good Deed for yourself.
I know, boo-hiss.
I won’t give away the ending [this time], but after watching it, I damn near conked my head on the curb leaving out the theatre; I’ll tell you that much.
No Good Deed is a mind-bending, new-school thriller that still has an old-school feel; Idris Elba did a damned good job masking his heavy British accent, while Taraji P. Henson nailed it in the relatability department, reminding me of my aunt in Houston. Naturally, I have no doubt in my mind that this is a flick you’ll enjoy again and again…especially on a dark and stormy night.
He’s Javan H.—check out my other musings in the #MSTv universe both on-air and online, as well as at JAVANH.com, YouTube.com/JJLucasH, Twitter.com/JJLucasH and on IMDb.
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