Movie review: Pierce Brosnan’s back in cynical spy chase ‘November Man’

First Published Aug 28 2014 04:03PM      Last Updated Aug 28 2014 04:57 pm

Pierce Brosnan shows he still knows the spy game in "The November Man," but the former James Bond is a rough fit in this bloody and predictably cynical espionage thriller.

Brosnan plays Peter Devereaux, a retired CIA assassin reactivated to get a Russian operative (Mediha Musliovic) out of Moscow alive. The mission ends in failure, with the operative — who turns out to be Devereaux’s former lover — killed by Devereaux’s onetime protégé, Mason (Luke Bracey).

The plot then devolves into a cat-and-mouse chase through Belgrade, with Devereaux trying to kill Mason while also protecting a UN refugee caseworker ("Quantum of Solace" Bond girl Olga Kurylenko) who has info that could topple a high-level Russian politician (Lazar Ristovski) and embarrass the CIA.

Director Roger Donaldson is an old hand at spy movies ("No Way Out" and "The Recruit" are on his résumé), and he deploys Brosnan expertly through the briskly paced action. The gunplay, though, is as random and indiscriminate as a first-person-shooter video game, which is at odds with the moral dilemmas Devereaux and Mason are forced to face.

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‘The November Man’

Opens Wednesday, Aug. 27, at theaters everywhere; rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use; 108 minutes.