Those Who Wish Me Dead is a 2021 Tyler Sheridan film.
5 out of 10 stars. Tyler Sheridan is a wonderful screenwriter. He’s a terrible director. He directed this but only rewrote parts of the shooting script. It really shows. And casting Angelina Jolie, who walks like an 80 year old woman, as a smokejumper was really a bad move.
There are two ongoing stories in this film. The first is about the teenage son of a forensic accountant who works for the District Attorney of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The film opens with two men killing the District Attorney and his entire family then blowing up his house. Then they go looking for the accountant who by now is on the run with his son Connor on his way to his brother-in-law’s place in Montana. His brother-in-law Ethan is a deputy sheriff.
The second story is about Hannah, a smokejumper who failed to save three teenage boys in her last firefight. She’s “benched” so to speak, but in smokejumper lingo that means she’s stuck in a tower. One afternoon lightning hits the tower rendering the radio inoperable. Shortly thereafter, she runs into Connor running through the forest with his dad’s blood on his face. The two killers caught up to them on the road and killed his dad then set the forest on fire.
Connor eventually tells Hannah what happened and shows her the papers his dad gave him before he died. He’s supposed to take them to the news media. Do they ever explain what’s in those papers? Only very vaguely.
The killers find Ethan’s house and his pregnant wife Allison is home. They rough her up and have her call Ethan, but she grabs a can of bear mace, sprays it into the fire, engulfs the mace in flames, then uses it like a makeshift flame thrower to set the two killers on fire. 🙂 Nice. Unfortunately that was the only fun part of the film. She gets away and uses GPS to track Ethan. Did I mention the two of them run a survival school?
When Ethan comes home to rescue Allison he is taken captive and the killers tell him their third man will kill Allison if they don’t lead them to the boy. So Ethan leads them the long way to the tower with Hannah where Connor is. They’re less than an hour ahead of the forest fire.
The tower is pretty high up with a vertical ladder. Neither of the killers wants to climb it, so they send Ethan up. He pretends no one is there and tells Hannah and Connor to stay hidden, but eventually the killers see his lips moving and shoot him. He helps Hannah and Connor jump from the tower and run into the forest, straight for the forest fire.
The killers keep shooting at Ethan, but Allison arrives with a rifle and kills one, the one she burned with the makeshift flame thrower. She comforts her dying husband as they wait with gas masks for help to come. The remaining killer goes after Hannah and Connor.
There’s a standoff between the killer and Hannah until Connor finally comes back to help. They render the killer immobile and leave him there to die in the fire. Hannah and Connor run ahead of the forest fire as far as they can then they dive into a creek and stay immersed underwater, only occasionally putting their mouths to the surface to breathe, until the fire passes. I’m not sure this is possible, but if it is, wow.
The fire passes and fire rescue parachutes down to the tower. They find Allison alive and Ethan dead. Hannah and Connor return to the tower. They are all taken to safety and there are reporters waiting to speak to Connor. We still don’t know why.
5 out of 10 stars. This was a very disappointing film. It’s as though they sketched out a vague plot then never filled in the details. It was very slow, very boring, and very unbelievable. The dialogue was downright stupid. Angelina Jolie walked like a frail 80 year old woman. And that was before she was injured. More than ninety percent of her scenes were sitting. It was also very odd casting a black woman as the wife of a deputy sheriff in Montana. Apparently they forget what Montana really looks like.