Since John Wick made blockbuster bucks with a mid-budget film, many movies have tried to capitalize on secret assassin organizations and tragic characters seeking to move away from a life of violence, from Nobody to Gunpowder Milkshake. Til Death Do Us Part is the latest movie in this trend, pitching an assassin bride-to-be (Natalie Burn) against a group of ruthless killers bent on destroying her. Unfortunately, the film completely ignores what made all these movies successful, delivering underwhelming action scenes, undercooked characters, and slow pacing that makes this almost two-hour movie overstay its welcome.
Til Death Do Us Part intercuts scenes from two stories. The first story is focused on the Bride and Groom (Ser’Darius Blain) as they enjoy their honeymoon in a paradisiacal tropical resort. At the same time, we also follow the Bride as she calls off the marriage on her wedding day, hiding in her father’s countryside home from her former employers. The Bride, the Groom, and the Groomsmen work for a mysterious and deadly organization thus, as soon as she decides to flee, the Bride knows she’ll become a target. The movie tries to keep some ambiguity regarding each story’s position in the timeline yet moviegoers shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to understand what’s happening and where things will go next. That’s one of the biggest problems with Til Death Do Us Part as the movie’s efforts to surprise the audience are constantly sabotaged by how every aspect of the plot feels so cliché.
Director Timothy Woodward Jr. has so far struggled to deliver solid action stories as movies such as Silencer and Gangster Land also failed to bring anything new to the table. As with previous movies in Woodward Jr’s filmography, Til Death Do Us Part has a fairly simple story to tell. Strangely, the movie’s dialogue is written to keep some mystery about who gives orders to the Groomsmen and what secret things happened in the past, as if there’s something unexpected to reveal at some point. There isn’t. The plot will unfold exactly how we expect it, and any attempt to introduce a twist is so heavily telegraphed that it’s fairly easy to see it coming. That wouldn’t exactly be a problem if Til Death Do Us Part had interesting characters to support its story or spectacular fighting scenes to keep the audience entertained. Instead, the movie fails on both of these fronts.
‘Til Death Do Us Part’s Shallow Characters Hurt the Movie
The first thing that hurts Til Death Do Us Part’s performances is how it fails to choose a tone for its story. The concept of a runaway bride fighting off home invaders trying to kill her could have been explored through the prism of horror, comedy, or drama-infused action. Sadly, the movie never seems to decide what kind of story it’s trying to tell, failing to be scary, exciting, and even funny. Til Death Do Us Part does try to fit jokes and thrilling moments in its script to help fill the space between each fight. None of this is half as effective as the movie thinks it is, especially when such bland characters are involved. There are cardboard cutouts in each scene instead of people, preventing even the Bride from having a single memorable moment in the entire film.
It’s impossible to blame the cast, though, as every character in Til Death Do Us Part is astonishingly poorly written. Take the group of seven Groomsmen, for instance. With this kind of setup, each villain is expected to have a unique personality or distinctive trait that helps them stand apart. Instead, half of the Groomsmen don’t get more than two or three generic lines. Most of these characters don’t even have a name, which only makes it harder for the audience to see them as something more than glorified goons. Cam Gigandet and Pancho Moler are obviously having some fun with their parts, which helps to lighten the mood. However,, since everyone is forced to repeat what feels like the same sentences multiple times, even the best performances of Til Death Do Us Part become insufferable. For instance, since there’s so little action happening, a good chunk of the film is dedicated to bickering between the Groomsmen, which always revolves around Gigandet’s character wanting to loosen up, Moler’s trying to prove how deadly he is, or Orlando Jones telling the others they should be more diligent with work. After the third time these same interactions happen, it becomes clear the movie is just trying to kill time between each of the underwhelming action scenes.
‘Til Death Do Us Part’s Action Falls Flat
Til Death Do Us Part should have been a vehicle for Burn to kick butts and take names, finding new and gruesome ways to dispose of her pursuers with extreme prejudice. However, in a movie that’s being sold as an action thrill ride, the deadly encounters between the Bride and the Groomsmen are too few and stretched apart. To make matters worse, most of the action scenes follow the same one-on-one formula, with the Bride fist-fighting assassins that fail to show how effective they could be in their line of work.
The set pieces of Til Death Do Us Part are a huge disappointment due to how badly the action is choreographed and how over-edited everything looks. It takes multiple cuts for characters to land a punch in scenes that are confusing, stiff, and surprisingly similar to one another. Plus, the fact that the Bride doesn’t need more than a few minutes to take down each enemy on her way to survival turns the movie into a boring waiting game. It takes more than half an hour for the first action scene to start and things don’t pick up the pace after that. Between jumps to the parallel storyline and a long, useless strategic meeting between the remaining Groomsmen, Til Death Do Us Part stretches the runtime to a breaking point.
The setting’s limitations also impairs the already uninteresting action scenes. The cat-and-mouse game between the Bride and Groomsmen happens in a single house with little space to hide. Since all the players involved in these supposedly fierce battles are trained assassins, one could expect the Groomsmen would be able to organize their attack and keep the pressure on the Bride at all times. Instead, most of the Groomsmen will wait for their colleagues to be killed in the next room, inexplicably oblivious to all the screaming happening a few meters away. It’s almost like the script of Til Death Do Us Part was written with a massive manor in mind, but the limited budget forced Woodward Jr. to shoot the entire movie in the same cramped location. However, instead of adapting the story to make the most of its confined space, the movie keeps challenging the audience’s suspension of disbelief by pretending there is enough room to keep all these characters apart.
The core concept of Bride versus Groomsmen could have led to an exciting action flick, yet when not even the action scenes work as they should, it’s hard to defend Til Death Do Us Part.
The Big Picture
- Til Death Do Us Part fails to deliver on what made similar movies successful, with underwhelming action scenes, undercooked characters, and slow pacing.
- The movie’s attempts to surprise the audience are constantly sabotaged by cliché, lacking any unexpected twists or surprises.
- The shallow and poorly written characters, along with poorly choreographed and uninteresting action scenes, contribute to making Til Death Do Us Part a disappointing and boring film.
Til Death Do Us Part is in theaters now.