Aaron Paul’s latest foray into movie Retribution (also known as Hellion) is a huge disappointment. It’s not that the Breaking Bad star gives a bad performance; it’s just that the film and the material are below his talents. It doesn’t help that he’s woefully miscast as a single parent struggling to hold his family together. It’s easy to see why Paul took on the role in Kat Chandler’s film. His character is a million miles away from Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman and he gets to flex his acting chops. However, it’s difficult to buy him as the father of a wayward teen (even if it’s realistically possible).
Chandler is making a relevant case for parenting and today’s youth but his film misses the mark. You could likely overlook many of the film’s storytelling flaws if the film had strong visuals, however the flat digital cinematography gives the film a lifeless look that zaps any of the emotion from the screen. You’ve seen this type of single dad drama before in a dozen other (better movies) and this brings nothing new to the table other than noisy Heavy Metal music.
Typecasting and stereotyping of actors is a one of Hollywood’s cardinal sins and it’s always sad to see someone struggle to remove themselves from a particular role. You can’t blame Aaron Paul for trying to remove himself from the large shadow of Breaking Bad, but he’ll have to select much better material than this.
Retribution isn’t fresh or original and it’s subpar on many levels (most of them technical, the rest on a story level). It’s probably worth watching for Aaron Paul’s performance and Breaking Bad fans may be interested in seeing a different side to him on screen. The bottom line is that Retribution feels like a low level television movie, albeit one with above average performances.