There won’t be a lot of surprises for fans of Jesse Eisenberg in his newest film. By now, they - we, as I’m a fan - pretty much know what they’re going to get. A character who talks a little too fast, who has a hint of mischief in his eyes, who seems a bit uncomfortable in his own skin. Eisenberg has become a kind of comfort food as an actor. That’s a compliment

But will there be surprises for fans of Alexander Skarsgard? Oh, yes. Let’s start with this. He played the vicious (and funny) Eric Northman in “True Blood” and he played Tarzan in “The Legend of Tarzan.”

So, no surprises from Eisenberg, who plays Vincent Zaleski, a bright, fast-talking, mischievous-eyed fellow who works as a marketer or maybe a sales rep in High Frequency Trading - something about lightning-fast, big-money stock market deals. The whole business sounds a little shady, but grasping an understanding of it is way above my paygrade. Vincent is crafty and good at what he does, but he has a hankering for hitting the big time, for building a fiber tunnel, buried 10 feet below the ground, from Kansas to New York, that will enable him to get stock quotes milliseconds faster than his company’s competitors, to sell access to those quotes to customers, and to become rich doing it.

Back to Skarsgard. He plays Vincent’s cousin Anton Zaleski, employed at the same firm, but as an idea man who has a tight grasp on the technology of it all. He’s going to be Vincent’s partner in this new venture. But - here it comes - Anton is a shy, meek, nervous, geeky fellow who needs to be alone in his world of numbers and algorithms to get anything done. Yes, the guy who played Tarzan and a neck-shredding vampire is now playing a nerd.

These are two very strong performances that are heightened even more by Salma Hayek’s Eva Torres, their ruthless boss at the firm who starts getting suspicious the moment they give notice to her, even though they haven’t said a word about their plans, which will be in direct competition with her. As soon as the cousins are out the door, her decision is made to keep her cold eyes on them, which she proceeds to do with a vengeance.

The film soon ends up going out on the road, to Kansas and eastward, where they start buying up very small pieces of people’s land in order to lay their underground line. They also take on another partner, the engineer Mark Vega (Michael Mando), who is planning and overseeing the physical work, with a number of crews under his command.

There’s also a well-dressed money man named Bryan (Frank Schorpion) financing the whole shebang who insists he doesn’t really understand how it works but totally trusts Vincent to pull it off, making it a safe and wise investment.

Truth be told, if I had some trouble with the business these guys work in, I’m totally lost in their get-rich-quick scheme. It smacks of similar goings-on in two very enjoyable but hard-to-understand films: “The Sting” and “Trading Places.”

But “The Hummingbird Project” soon veers off into “thriller” territory - the quotes are there because it’s kind of lightweight thriller business. But still, we’ve got the angry former boss, the money man who just might turn out to be dangerous, a ticking clock scenario involving the work being done within certain time parameters, and lots of hassles out on that long straight line between Kansas and New York, one of them involving the Amish, you know, those folks who aren’t particularly fond of technology.

Writer-director Kim Nguyen even throws a health issue into the mix, but that ends up bogging things down and padding the running time. There are already enough accidents causing delays and people having troubles with “variables.” The film has a great story and some fine people telling it. Too bad, then, that more consideration wasn’t given to how end it. Rather than concluding with up or down, or success or failure, it just sort of peters out.

Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now. He can be reached at esymkus@rcn.com.

“The Hummingbird Project”
Written and directed by Kim Nguyen
With Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgard, Salma Hayek, Michael Mando
Rated R