Molly is a film that feels like wasted potential at every turn. The story starts out promising but drops the interesting aspects to make way for an action romp that’s eye-rollingly cliche and painfully bland, the fairly talented star is surrounded by a supporting cast that ranges from inadequate to laughable, and the few great moments of action are hidden deep within the mostly awful choreography and special effects (it’s not like better effects would’ve saved it though). There are fleeting moments of decent filmmaking in Molly, but they aren’t anywhere near enough to make sitting through everything else worthwhile.
Molly follows the titular character’s adventures across a post-apocalyptic wasteland, as she fights with other scavengers, bonds with a young girl, and… Actually, that’s about it. There are brief flashbacks that hint towards Molly (both the person and the flick) being something special, and her enemies seem to know of her somehow, but nothing is ever explored or explained in a satisfactory fashion. Instead we get a rushed and instantly forgettable narrative where Molly goes on a rampage to save someone she’s just met. It’s so forgettable that I can’t even remember the names of any other characters, and I finished Molly less than half an hour before I started writing this review.
Oh, and lets not forget the supplicants, another part of Molly’s world that we know nothing about. From what I could gather, they’re man-made zombie-like beasts that may have a connection to the heroine or something? It seems like there was going to be more, but then it got cut or changed.
Speaking of the heroine, Julia Batelaan gives an admirable, somewhat over the top performance as Molly, but I found myself struggling almost as valiantly as her to take anything she did or said seriously because literally every other actor and actress in the movie felt like they were in an embarrassing school play. One could say that Molly’s budget, which I assume wasn’t very much, attributed to the cheap feel it had, but I’d still say that the acting felt cheaper than the effects, sets, and props. Seriously, I got some super strong Tommy Wiseau vibes from the main villain, but not the “so bad he’s funny” kind.
The action is definitely better than the acting, but that’s not really saying much. Almost every fight has one or two fluid punches, kicks, or stabs, but there are many, MANY more that I could tell the actors had to slow down or move around to make sure that their blows connected correctly on the characters and safely for the actors. It felt like I was rewatching a watered down version of the first season of Netflix’s Iron Fist (if you’ve seen enough of that to know what I’m talking about, I’m sorry for making you revisit those memories).
Considering that this is a movie I first heard about roughly six hours ago, I had no expectations going in. Unfortunately, Molly was still able to greatly disappoint me. There are the bare bones of a film that’s at least passable, but they’re covered with layers of poor storytelling, pitiful action, atrocious acting, and a post-apocalyptic world that feels even emptier than that.