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dir Baltasar Kormakur
scr Blake Masters
prd Andrew Cosby, Randall Emmett, George Furla, Norton Herrick, Marc Platt, Ross Richie, Adam Siegel
with Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, James Marsden, Fred Ward, Robert John Burke, Greg Sproles, Patrick Fischler, Derek Solorsano, Azure Parsons
release US 2.Aug.13, UK 16.Aug.13
13/US Boom! 1h49
All part of the plan: Washington and Wahlberg
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
An unusually smart script combines with skilful direction to create an action-comedy that's a lot better than it looks. Not only are the central characters engaging and a bit of a mess, but there are larger issues gurgling under the surface. You know you're not watching an American movie that plays it safe when the villain is the US government.
Bobby and Stig (Washington and Wahlberg) are working together to make a major drug deal with kingpin Papi Greco (Olmos), but their decision to rob a local bank to get him twists everything around when it emerges that Bobby's an undercover DEA operative and Stig's a Naval Intelligence agent. So not only is Papi after them, but their bosses (Burke and Marsden) are too. Plus a swaggering killer (Paxton) with CIA connections. And Bobby's colleague-girlfriend (Patton) can only help so much.
The set-up requires that we pay attention to disentangle the plot threads. But it's refreshing to see a crazy action movie that never abandons its own logic. As Bobby and Stig get deeper into the murky situation, they aren't sure they can trust anyone, and especially not each other. So the fact that Washington and Wahlberg generate terrific chemistry makes their interaction thoroughly entertaining.
Like most buddy comedies, the film emphasises their differences. Washington is Mr Slick, gliding through the chaos without breaking a sweat, while Wahlberg is the chattering, cocky charmer who's never in control of his own plan. Opposite them, Patton has the standard thankless female role with a few surprises up her sleeve. And Paxton steals the film as the slithery, vicious goon who, like Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men, leaves a path of destruction as he sorts things out.
Intriguingly, the film also includes a strongly pointed sequence touching on US-Mexico border immigration. And the crux of the plot is that spending cuts have made it necessary for intelligence agencies to find cash anywhere they can. This adds a refreshing edge to what's already an unusually well-made action-comedy. It's edgy, funny and, yes, very violent as well. And by continually catching us off-guard with complex touches, it's much more involving than we expect.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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