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Unnecessary action – Culture – Al-Ahram Weekly

This Eid season there are only three films, fewer films screened than almost any other Eid season except 2020. That year Covid closed cinemas . Films like Saheb Al-Maqam (The Sanctuary Owner) – written by Ibrahim Eissa, directed by Gamal Al-Adl and starring Asser Yassin, Amina Khalil and Bayoumi Fouad – have been streamed online through MBC’s Shahid VIP platform .

The three films are: Wahed Tani (Another One), directed by Mohamed Shakir Khodier and starring Ahmed Helmy, Rouby, Ahmed Malek and Amr Abdel-Geleil; Zombie, directed by Amr Salah and starring Ali Rabie, Dina Mohsen, Hamdi Al-Merghany and Hagar Ahmed; and Al-Ankabout (The Spider), directed by Ahmed Nader Galal, which had been postponed since its completion in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Starring Ahmed Al-Saqqa and Mona Zaki, 15 years after their last appearance together in Taymour wi Shafika (Taymour and Shafika, 2007), the film sees the two stars returning to their famous action-romance duo. An action thriller about a family of drug lords named Gobran, it opens with the death of the family head and the return of his son Adam (Dhafer L’Abidine) and his wife (Youssra Al-Louzi) from abroad to run the business.

But the first operation Adam leads fails and all the men involved are killed except the one who is left alive to deliver a message to Adam from the Spider (Ahmed Al-Saqqa), a mysterious figure with a spider tattoo on his back. his neck destroying the case for no clear reason. The whole family then gets together, with actors Zaki Fateen Abdel-Wahab, Mohamed Mamdouh, Reem Mustafa, Mohamed Lotfi and Ahmed Fouad Selim making appearances, to discuss the loss they have suffered and how to deal with the prospect. that the Spider intercepts their next contract. .

Mohamed Nayer’s screenplay doesn’t explain anything in the first half of the film, but even when the story takes shape in the second half, it feels extremely naive and two-dimensional. Not respecting the intelligence of the spectator, the scenario turns out to be a pretext for chases and fights which could just as well be without intrigue. There’s an extended philosophical explanation for how a spider catches its prey, but there’s no sense in which it translates into a cohesive storyline. Despite technically brilliant action sequences, there’s no characterization or narrative, and the viewer can’t fathom the reasons behind all the sound and fury. At 130 minutes, for what it has to offer as a story, the film is far too long.

The Spider meets Laila (Mona Zaki), a tour guide for a Chinese group heading to Luxor, on the train. Before long, she’s been dragged into her fight with Gobrans and makes it a point to protect her. The Spider notices he is being followed and fights an endless group of men on board. Another fight takes place in Laila’s apartment, completely destroying it. The spider also saves her while she retrieves her bag from the hotel where the Chinese tourists are staying, and the gang members fall from the balcony into the hotel pool while the tourists cheer.

Eventually, the spider takes Laila to his home, a wrecked ship on a shore – it’s unclear if this is the sea or a lake – where he has made his home. It turns out that the man’s mother was a drug addict and that’s why he took it upon himself to interrupt the work of the drug lords. He is relieved as he trains PUBG addict Laila to use a weapon. The warmth and humor of these scenes recall the brilliant and harmonious collaborations of Al-Saqqa and Zaki on films like Africano (2001) and Mafia (2002), both directed by Amr Arafa and Aan Al-Ishq wal Hawa ( Of Love and Passion, 2006), directed by Kamla Abu Zikry. But neither Zaki nor Al-Saqqa give a very good performance despite their palpable attempt to animate the characters.

The final disappointment in the script is the plot twist. When one of the family members (Reem Mustafa) turns out to be leaking information to the spider, we discover that Adam is actually his brother.

*A version of this article appeared in the May 12, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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