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dir Miguel Sapochnik
scr Eric Garcia, Garrett Lerner
prd Mary Parent, Scott Stuber
with Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga, Liev Schreiber, Carice van Houten, Chandler Canterbury, Joe Pingue, Liza Lapira, Tiffany Espensen, Yvette Nicole Brown, Wayne Ward, RZA
release US 19.Mar.10, UK 16.Apr.10
Have a heart: Braga and Law
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
This action movie misses the two big chances here: to play with the absurdities of its premise and to make a comment on corporate greed. Instead it's just brutally violent and staggeringly stupid.
Remy (Law) is a tough guy working with his childhood pal Jake (Whitaker) for The Union, a company that mercilessly repossesses artificial organs when people fail to make the payments. While their heartless boss (Schreiber) gleefully encourages their violent excesses, Remy's wife (van Houten) wants him to change to a desk job for the sake of their young son (Canterbury). Then there's an accident, and Remy becomes a client as well. So when he falls behind on his payments, he goes on the run with another renegade client (Braga).
There are so many gaping holes in this story that it's impossible to take any of it remotely seriously, and yet the filmmakers never have any fun, playing every scene seriously (with only throwaway humour, mostly of the cruel variety). The whopping crater at the centre is this: why not simply remotely turn off the artificial organ, then remove it humanely, rather than these unnecessarily grisly repossessions? Which then begs the question: is this business completely unregulated?
But down that path lies madness, because the more you think about it the less sense it makes, with a couple of final-act revelations that are beyond preposterous. And yet here is Law all beefed up and acting up an emotional storm, while a kinetic Whitaker merrily chomps on the scenery and Schreiber simmers in stone-cold villain mode. Braga's and van Houten's roles are underwritten and thankless, but these fine actresses manage to add a glimmer of feeling.
Meanwhile, director Sapochnik shows contempt for what plot there is by indulging in direction that strains for a Blade Runner vibe but never gets close. Set pieces are slickly staged but edited choppily, with dialog that never says anything in between the cliches and explicit violence that takes gratuitous to a new level. Actually, it's a remarkable achievement to turn such a promising premise into such a vacuous movie. If only it was vaguely amusing, it might have been a guilty pleasure.
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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