Movies

Mark Wahlberg’s Bananas New Action Movie Infinite, Explained

The would-be sci-fi blockbuster was unceremoniously dropped on Paramount+. What … is it?

Mark Wahlberg lies shirtless in bed, looking jacked, and stairs up at a wall covered in equations. Around him are photoshopped drawings of bananas.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Paramount Pictures.

If it feels to you like the new Mark Wahlberg movie Infinite came out of nowhere, it turns out Mark Wahlberg is just as surprised. According to an article in the Hollywood Reporter a couple of weeks ago, it wasn’t until a May earnings call that Wahlberg and the film’s director, Antoine Fuqua, found out that the movie was skipping theaters and going straight to the new streaming service Paramount+. (It’s out Thursday.) The marketing hasn’t done much to clear up the mystery, either. The movie didn’t even get a trailer until Memorial Day, less than two weeks before its release, and even then, the trailer raised more questions than it answers.

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The trailer does explain that the move is about reincarnated beings called Infinites (?), of which Wahlberg is one. But who are the bad guys? What are they fighting about? And is there any in-universe reason that Mark Wahlberg is so ripped? Luckily, I watched Infinite, and bring you these answers. (Spoilers follow.)

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What is Infinite about?

As explained in the movie’s opening minutes via voice-over (and yes, that is how we are fed the basic premise of the movie), the Infinites have split into two groups: the Believers and the Nihilists. The—

“The Believers and the Nihilists”?

Yes. The Believers want to use their powers to help protect human society. The Nihilists, meanwhile, believe that their powers are a curse, and so they want to end the cycle of rebirth. To do this, they have developed the technology to transplant a person’s soul onto a sort of USB stick, so it won’t keep reincarnating. They’ve also developed a magical egg that, when put into a bomb, will wipe out all life, leaving no bodies behind to be reborn into.

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Egg?

Egg.

So who made the egg?

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Bathurst, the leader of the Nihilists. Back in Wahlberg’s previous life, when he was a Believer named Heinrich Treadway (an incarnation played by Teen Wolf heartthrob Dylan O’Brien), he stole the egg, and now Ejiofor is trying to get it back. Luckily, there are other Believers around to keep Wahlberg safe while he gets his memory back and figures out where he left the egg.

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He has amnesia?

He just doesn’t remember his past lives. He’s been diagnosed as a schizophrenic (at 14, he carved “LOOK INSIDE” onto his chest), and just accepts the fact that he knows how to do things he learned in past lives, like how to forge and wield a katana.

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Wait. The egg is inside Wahlberg, isn’t it?

Not quite, but you’re close.

Does the movie ever explain why Wahlberg’s character is so shredded?

It does not.

Does Wahlberg’s character ever get his memory back?

He does! Another Infinite, played by Jason Mantzoukas, puts him in what is essentially a Flatliners machine. The machine more or less drowns him in order to bring him to the brink of death, because then, you know, his life (lives) will flash before his eyes.

Jason Mantzoukas is in this movie?

I know!

OK, so he gets his memory back, and then gets the egg?

Well—and here’s where the spoilers really start—it turns out that the egg is inside Dylan O’Brien, hence why Mark Wahlberg was writing “LOOK INSIDE” on his own body as a teen. The Believers have also been keeping all of the bodies of their previous incarnations in big tanks of fluid that keep them from rotting, so finding the egg is actually pretty convenient—or would be, if Ejiofor’s character hadn’t gotten there first and stolen O’Brien’s body.

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So then Wahlberg and Ejiofor fight, Wahlberg wins, the end?

Kind of? Wahlberg and Ejiofor do fight, first inside the plane from which Ejiofor plans to drop his world-destroying bomb, and then in midair, Point Break–style, as Wahlberg disarms the bomb while it’s falling. Wahlberg succeeds, then succumbs to his injuries, as do several of his Believer comrades over the course of the movie.

Wait, so the movie ends with them both going splat?

Well, they fall into water, so Wahlberg technically drowns, but pretty much. But remember, they can be reborn. The last scene of the movie is Jason Mantzoukas finding the new Wahlberg, now a teenage boy in Indonesia, and rerecruiting him to the cause. It’s kind of cool, insomuch as, if this movie spawns a franchise, it will star a young Asian actor as its world-saving hero. That said, it probably won’t spawn a franchise, and if it does, they might decide to jump one or two more incarnations down the line.

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Is Ejiofor going to reincarnate, too?

Luckily for the Believers but unluckily for the acting caliber of the franchise, no, because Wahlberg shot him with the USB gun before he hit the ground.

So should I watch this movie? It sounds nuts.

It’s just as dumb as it sounds, and even if that’s your kind of thing, Wahlberg’s voice-over is truly calamitous. And while the idea of a midair fight might seem cool, it’s not worth slogging through the rest of the movie to get there. I’d watch Point Break instead—or wait for the Mantzoukas supercut.

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