Hypnotic review: "Robert Rodriguez takes us on an insubstantial but raucous ride"

The Total Film verdict on Rodriguez's latest film is here

Ben Affleck and Alice Braga in Hypnotic
(Image: © Warner Bros./Ketchup Entertainment)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Robert Rodriguez takes us on an insubstantial but raucous ride that positively flies by.

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You don’t come to a Robert Rodriguez film looking for subtlety. But even by his standards, Hypnotic is a lot

Ben Affleck plays Danny, an archetypal sad detective whose daughter’s abduction a few years prior remains unsolved. While investigating a chaotic bank robbery that involves stripping women, exploding trucks, and a man leaping off the roof disappearing into thin air, Danny thinks he may have found the key to her kidnapping. 

He discovers the sinister man at the core of the chaos was after a picture of his missing daughter and is a ‘hypnotic’, a kind of government-trained psychic that can make people's perception of reality bend to their will.

Rodriguez doesn’t take his foot off the gas for the entire 94-minute run time. There’s an action sequence about every four minutes and a plot twist every 10. In a world where so many films feel bloated and overextended, the frantic pace is highly refreshing. 

To be sure, Hypnotic is unlikely to trouble anyone’s all-time list of action-sci-fi thrillers. Still, it is a reminder of just how joyously watchable such genre fare can be - and in many respects, the more ridiculous Hypnotic gets, the more it endears. The earnestness of the performances - from co-stars Alice Braga and William Fichtner, as well as Affleck - amps up the camp appeal. 

True, there’s a near-criminal underuse of Jackie Earle Haley. But it's impossible to resent Rodriguez just going for it, like it’s the good old days when movies like this reigned supreme at the summer box office. 

Hypnotic is in UK cinemas on 26 May and is in US cinemas now. For more upcoming movies, check out our breakdown of 2023 movie release dates.

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Freelance Writer

Leila Latif is a freelance journalist, broadcaster, film critic, and self-described "haver of hot takes". She used that power (and years of experience) to cover TV and film for a wide variety of outlets such as GamesRadar+, Total Film, Little White Lies, The A.V. Club, SFX, BBC Culture, and many more.