Midnight Oil Runners – Movie Reivew

The Bottom Line
This is the first oil patch movie ever made in BFA (the “A” stands for “Alberta”). Unfortunately, it is also the worst oil patch movie ever made in BFA and should only be watched by those who love to be tortured by poor cinematic execution with actors arbitrarily picked from the Unemployed Actors Workshop.

Director-Screenwriter
Jonah Hill Feldstein (aka Johan Hill)

Cast
Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Biel, Will Smith, Vince Vaughn, Adam Sandler

A former oil company executive decides that paying royalties is for the birds, so he forms a 3-person numbered company to produce and market oil guerrilla style. But he’ll have his hands full with an ex-Navy Seal turned CIA agent and his karate-champion son hot on his trails.

Johan Hill Feldstein
Johan Hill Feldstein

With his new-found confidence after dropping a whopping 72 pounds (equivalent to the weight of his regular acting sidekick Michael Cera), Jonah Hill has taken a big step backwards in his Hollywood career in, this, his directorial debut. (But for what it’s worth, this critic would rather that he regain twice the weight and stick to acting super bad.)

The son of career gas station convenience store manager, the oil patch hits very close to home for Johan Hill. So he figured that writing and directing a movie about the patch would pay tribute to his old man. But he was wrong because, “the only thing that this movie plays tribute to is very bad movies” – Ruben Feldstein (Johan’s father).

This uninspiring mess of a movie, jam-packed with Hollywood has-beens, does a remarkable job of shedding a poorer light on Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

It tells a story of how a rogue former oil executive figures that he can take energy regulation into his own hands by doing things the ways of the old West, only to be chased down, well-by-well, by the CIS, CIA, RCMP, FBI and even the President of APEGA by both ground, air, and water on both sides of the border. If only it was as good as it sounds.

The movie is set in the outskirts of Stettler, Alberta, which we are told is far better than being in Stettler itself. Richard Barkenstool, P.Eng., is a tough-as-nails ex-executive played by Vince Vaughn, who partners up with his attorney wife Lindy Crooks and senior geologist Gusdorf Gillison, respectively played by Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler. Mr. Sandler adds a much needed comic element to the otherwise serious and action-packed thriller  (has Sandler ever played any other type of role? Errrr… no.)

The law-breaking trio hire a team of underground contract drillers to drill and frack unauthorized oil wells throughout Southern Alberta. Richard and company would arrange to produce the fluids to a mobile single well battery, whose oil was pumped into tanker trucks headed for Mexico, whereas the caustic waste water ends up getting irresponsibly dumped onto the ground. Each drill was performed under the cover of darkness overnight using a new laser drilling technology.

A scene from the end of the movie where Richard and his team are critically injured in a tanker truck that was karate chopped by Jaden Smith.
A scene from the end of the movie where Richard and his team are fatally injured in a tanker truck that was karate chopped by Jaden Smith.

But this is where trouble for Richard and his team starts. Once the Feds on both sides of the border realize that oil is being stolen, illegally transported across both countries and sold in a black market, they put their best men on the job. Enter Tyrone Jackson and his 13-year old son Lamar. The 2 CIA investigative top-men are tasked with chasing down 1765037 Alberta Inc., and putting a stop to Richard’s covert operations, which serves as the majority of the film, with only a little romantic exposure with a love affair between Aniston’s and Sandler’s character.

Keeping in trend with Hill’s other Hollywood experiences, Midnight Oil Runners is laughable at best, and not in the “hahaha, that movie was hilarious way.” With a cast of actors and actresses who were once great, we expected a comeback of sorts, but they all failed to deliver on all fronts. Why wasn’t Jessica Biel mentioned in this review? Because her performance was that forgettable.

2P Entertainment News gives this movie 4 thumbs down.

Thumbs down