The 2018 action thriller ’24 Hours To Live ‘ stars Ethan Hawke. And you know what, it’s watchable. At no point during it’s viewing did I once break down and ask why I still exist.
That being said, it wasn’t exactly worthy of a Best Picture nomination either. For my full review read here: https://www.thescreenwritersjournal.com/24-hours-to-live-an-honest-review/
So I decided to make a breakdown as to how I would have approached the film, had I, a complete unknown screenwriter, with a borderline unknown movie blog been tasked to write the movie.
So I’m going off of this assuming you’ve either seen the actual film, or at the very least read my review. If not, spoilers ahead:
Lack of Motivation:
Hawke’s character came off as very one-dimensional. Though none of this is his fault. I personally consider him to be a very good actor, who unfortunately doesn’t always pick the best projects.
Throughout the film, Ethan Hawke only really has one very basic, generic goal. Get revenge. Sure, that’s a fine start. Mind you, even that motivation is never even that well expressed in any scenes. But how about instead of only doing his for the sake of revenge, he had another goal in mind;
Just like with Ethan Hawke, we know that there have been several other individuals brought back for a mere 24 hours. So maybe he would have the motivation to stop others from being brought back for the sick amount of 24 hours.
The film has two main “antagonists”. Both of which were pretty irelevent. There’s the old British dude, who I feel was written for either Christopher Plummer, or Ian McKellen. He’s the boss of this company or something. That’s pretty much all I can remember from him.
And there’s this American guy played by Paul Anderson. He hired Ethan Hawke for the job. Then he just kinda hangs out with the old British dude. Sure, he has a redemption at the end, where he sacrifices himself to kill the old British dude, but that’s about it. It meant nothing to us, because we had no reason to care about him as a character.
The computer chip with the device set to kill him, is located in his arm. So what if he sought out a hacker, or hackers to reprogram the device? He’d seek them out, offering him everything he has. They try their best to get to the bottom of the firewalls, but for whatever reason, they’re unable to penetrate them. Maybe the device even reduces it’s lifespan after realizing it’s under attacked. So Ethan Hawke just spent some of the least, precious moments of his life, waiting for a cure that was never meant to be. The toll that could have on him would at the very least have been more interesting than the actual middle section of this film.
Some Small Changes:
First of all, we never really see our protagonist suffer. I mean really suffer. The man doesn’t even have a day left to live, yet we barely see him really take in his upcoming death. What should have called for a heartbreaking, gutwrenching moment having him break in emotion, just doesn’t exist.
So, maybe instead of just hanging out with Old British dude, he was his partner in crime. Sure, we can keep Hawke having been out of the game for a bit, Paul Anderson bringing him out for one last hit. And here’s the twist. They BOTH get killed. So, instead of Paul Anderson just casually telling Ethan Hawke what’s going on, he broke him out of the prison. Being in denial that he’ll be dead in less than a day. Maybe he woke up earlier, and only has a little bit of time left
Paul Anderson would later sacrifice himself to save Ethan Hawke, personally I’d have it be that immediatly after escaping, he dies. The timer on his arm goes off and he suffers a heart attack, or explodes if we’re going for a more actiony effect.. We could use this to throwback to the previous motive, he wants to stop other people from having that fate, a fate he knows deep down, he’ll have to suffer soon as well.
Last but not least; the ending. After crashing his car through a building and making his way up dozens of stairs, he should have encounted a few guards along the way and have been shot, not fatally, but just enough for him to hurt, and still be able to march on. By the time he makes it to the Old British Dude’s doorstep, he should’ve barely been able to stand. Instead, that doesn’t happen until after he starts shooting the place up.
A few minor changes, that I think could have completely changed the way peope view the film. Ideally for the better.
What did you think of my fix to 24 Hours to Live? Anything else you would gave changed? If so, lemme’ know in the comments below. PS, I’ll probably do more “fixing” post like these in the future.
All photos from Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page