From Nobody to Gunpowder Milkshake, many films have attempted to capitalise on hidden assassin organisations and tragic protagonists yearning to shift away from a life of murder after John Wick earned blockbuster millions with a mid-budget picture. Til Death Do Us Part is the most recent film in this genre, pitting an assassin bride-to-be (Natalie Burn) against a gang of vicious murderers out to eliminate her.
Unfortunately, the film utterly disregards what made all of these films popular, providing uninspiring action scenes, underdeveloped characters, and a lethargic pace that causes this almost two-hour picture to outstay its welcome.
Til Death Do Us Part weaves together moments from two storylines. The first narrative follows the Bride and Groom (Ser’Darius Blain) as they spend their honeymoon in a tropical paradise. Simultaneously, we follow the Bride as she cancels her wedding on her wedding day, hiding in her father’s countryside house from her old colleagues. The Bride, Groom, and Groomsmen all work for a secret and lethal organisation, so the Bride knows she’ll become a target as soon as she attempts to depart.
The film attempts to maintain some uncertainty regarding each story’s location in the timeline, but viewers should only need a few minutes to comprehend what’s going on and where things will go next. That’s one of the most serious issues with Til Death Do Us Part, since the film’s attempts to surprise the audience are repeatedly undermined by how clichéd every part of the story seems.
Director Timothy Woodward Jr. has previously struggled to produce solid action storylines, with films such as Silencer and Gangster Land likewise failing to provide anything unique. Til Death Do Us Part, like earlier films in Woodward Jr’s oeuvre, tells a rather straightforward plot. Surprisingly, the language in the film is crafted to retain some mystery regarding who issues commands to the Groomsmen and what hidden things transpired in the past as if there’s something surprising to unveil at some time.
There isn’t one. The narrative will unfold precisely as expected, and any effort to present a twist will be so strongly telegraphed that it will be pretty easy to predict. That wouldn’t be so bad if Til Death Do Us Part had fascinating characters to back up its tale or great battle sequences to keep the viewer engaged. Instead, the film falls short on both counts.
The first flaw with Til Death Do Us Part’s performances is its inability to pick a tone for its plot. The idea of a fugitive bride battling off house intruders attempting to murder her may have been explored via the lens of horror, comedy, or drama-infused action. Unfortunately, the film never appears to know what type of tale it wants to convey, failing to be terrifying, interesting, or even amusing.
Til Death Do Us Part attempts to fill the space between each battle with humour and exhilarating moments. None of this is quite as successful as the film believes it is, especially with such uninteresting people. There are cardboard cutouts instead of individuals in each scene, preventing even the Bride from having a memorable moment throughout the entire film.
But it’s difficult to fault the performers because every character in Til Death Do Us Part is horribly written. Take, for example, the group of seven Groomsmen. With this type of arrangement, each villain is supposed to have a particular personality or quality that makes them stand out. Instead, only around half of the Groomsmen get more than two or three generic lines. Most of these individuals don’t even have names, making it difficult for the spectator to recognise them as anything more than glorified thugs. Cam Gigandet and Pancho Moler clearly like their roles, which helps to lighten the tone.
However, because everyone is obliged to repeat what appears to be the same phrases many times, even the finest Til Death Do Us Part performances become unbearable. For example, because there is so little action, a large portion of the film is devoted to squabbling among the Groomsmen, which always revolves around Gigandet’s character wanting to loosen up, Moler’s trying to prove how lethal he is, or Orlando Jones telling the others they need to be more diligent with their work. After the third time these encounters occur, it becomes evident that the film is simply trying to pass the time between each of the disappointing action scenes.
Til-Death-Do-Us-Part-Pancho-Moler-Natalie-BurnImage courtesy of Cineverse
Til Death Do Us Part was supposed to be a vehicle for Burn to kick buttocks and take names, inventing new and horrible methods to dispatch her pursuers with a tremendous vengeance. However, in a film marketed as an action thriller, the lethal confrontations between the Bride and the Groomsmen are far too few and far apart. To make matters worse, the majority of the action scenes have the Bride as fist-fighting assassins who fail to demonstrate how successful they could be in their line of business.
Til Death Do Us Part’s set pieces are a massive letdown owing to how poorly the action is performed and how over-edited everything appears. Multiple cuts are required for characters to deliver a punch in sequences that are unclear, stiff, and eerily identical to one another. Furthermore, the fact that the Bride only needs a few minutes to knock down each opponent on her route to survival transforms the film into a tedious waiting game. The first action sequence takes more than a half-hour to begin, and things do not pick up speed after that. Til Death Do Us Part extends the duration to the breaking point with leaps to the parallel tale and a protracted, pointless strategy meeting with the remaining Groomsmen.
The restrictions of the environment further detract from the already dull action scenes. The Bride and Groomsmen play a cat-and-mouse game in a single house with limited place to hide. Given that all of the participants in these ostensibly intense encounters are professional assassins, one would expect the Groomsmen to be able to organise their attack and maintain constant pressure on the Bride. Instead, the majority of the Groomsmen will wait for their colleagues to be slain in the next room, completely unaware of the screaming that is taking place a few metres away.
It’s almost as if the script for Til Death Do Us Part was written with a large mansion in mind, but Woodward Jr. was compelled to shoot the entire film in the same small setting due to a tight budget. However, rather than altering the tale to make the most of its limited area, the film continues to test the audience’s suspension of disbelief by claiming there is enough space to keep all of these characters apart.
The basic premise of Bride vs. Groomsmen might have resulted in an exciting action film, but when even the action scenes don’t function as they should, it’s difficult to justify Til Death Do Us Part.