r/moviecritic – Despite top tier talent and insane budgets, Netflix originals such as The Highwaymen continue to underwhelm.

The Highwaymen is remarkably -and disappointingly- average, but that doesn’t apply to all Netflix originals. Overall, they’re doing quite well, especially if you compare them to the competition.

The Highwaymen’s biggest flaw, IMO, was the lack of stakes or conflict. It seemed the director was bent on not “glorifying” Bonnie and Clyde, and not succumbing to the twisted media craze depicted in the movie. It seems a principle directive of the movie is to make the movie about the good guys and their story; not about Bonnie and Clyde. The movie is called “The Highwaymen,” after all.

The problem is, what we end up with is a lack of a compelling villain. The criminals are notorious on a historical scale. But in the movie, they do not appear cunning, or crafty or elusive or mysterious or… anything. They have no interesting qualities. We just know they shoot people. Don’t get me wrong, that’s horrible, but not particularly interesting in a detective movie. They could have gone full Bird Box and just called them “Boy” and “Girl,” and it wouldn’t have changed the movie whatsoever.

And yes, to boot, our main protagonists aren’t particularly interesting either. Retired cops -one an alcoholic- who aren’t quite as young as they used to be called out of retirement for one last gig. Heard that one before? It’s about as plain as it sounds.

I will commend Netflix for the production quality. As drab as the script or directing is, the look and feel, sets, acting, etc. are all on par with theater released movies. I was a little disappointed in this one, but I’ve rented and paid to see worse. There are plenty of surprisingly good Netflix originals. They can’t all be zingers.

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