Stark Raving Mad
2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
one last chance Besides being edgy and energetic, there's little reason for this film to exist, as it's just a second-rate American Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels knock-off. Ben (Scott) is the likeable National Geographic-obsessed (!) central character, working off the debt his dead brother owed to a local thug (Phillips). And now he has One Last Chance to clear the slate by staging a rave next door to a bank that has a valuable statue in its vault. With the music pounding, Ben and his gang (Sharp, Breen, Crye and Nakamura) will blast through the wall. But there lots of factors in their way, including the club's cranky owner (Arkin), a rival gang leader (Chen), Ben's bitter ex (Mazur), a couple of FBI agents (Foley and Smith) and a nymphomaniac 16-year-old (Neis).

First the good news: The ensemble works nicely, with decent performances around the edges that keep us laughing nervously, even though nothing in the script is remotely funny (try as it might). The problem is that Scott is merely OK in the focal role, which is so badly written and directed than it would need a much more confident star to carry it off. Daywalt and Schneider simply lift every visual element from Guy Ritchie's repertoire without adding anything original. Combined with the awkward and clunky script, this leaves the film feeling stale from the very beginning, no matter how cool and hip they want us to think it is. They also have a terrible urge to find comedy in the least humorous situations--epilepsy, drugs, underage sex, bondage. And there's even a split-screen sequence with robbers drilling the bank vault while a couple has sex. Ha ha. This general lack of creativity makes the film feel like an interminable waste of time.

cert 15tbc adult themes and situations, language, violence, drugs 27.May.02

dir-scr Drew Daywalt, David Schneider
with Seann William Scott, Timm Sharp, Patrick Breen, John B Crye, Suzy Nakamura, Lou Diamond Phillips, Dave Foley, Kavan Smith, Adam Arkin, Paul Hungerford, Reagan Dale Neis, Monet Mazur, Terry Chen, Jody Racicot, Carl McDonald, Lina Teal
release UK 24.Jan.03
02/US 1h38

Mission impossible. Ben (Scott) decides that if he wants the job done right he'll have to do it himself.

scott phillips foley arkin
R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... "This is one of those great little films that gives you hope that maybe Hollywood still has a chance when it comes to heart and realistic characters. The film's strong points are definitely its intense sense of direction and pacing, and outstanding performances, especially by Scott and Sharp, whose Lenny and George-esque relationship really carries the film. The movie is most hysterical because the robbery itself goes fairly smoothly; it's the rave that causes all the problems. There's a problem with an insane DJ, ex-girlfriends, horny raver girls, an undercover fed, drug dealers, Chinese gangsters. And as a bank robber, the main character is not qualified to deal with these small-time ordinary problems. Also the film is not afraid to make fun of sacred cows like drug use (yes, sometimes it is funny) and public sex. Scott and Sharp do a convincing job playing lifelong friends and the jeopardy they are in feels quite real. The pace and the comedy are nonstop, and it does feel like an American version of Snatch, but with a lot more heart and integrity. Along with a strong sense of visual intensity, the soundtrack is relentless and fantastic, scored entirely by Digweed. The film is a kaliedoscopic rollercoaster that really gets you into the feel of not only the rave culture, but also of small-time criminal life. After leaving this film I felt as if I'd been to an all-night rave - exhausted and highly amused." --Jason N, Los Angeles 27.Sep.02 one last chance

"This rocks in a way that no film has done in years, in large part because of DJ John Digweed, who did the score. The plot goes like this: Ben (Scott) has the perfect plan: Host the best rave party his friends have ever experienced, which will also act as a cover-up while he breaks into the bank next door! The bank alarm is neutralized by high sonic levels, so if the music stays really loud, the alarm won't go off. Ben needs the money to pay back Gregory (Phillips), a gangster who will kill him unless he pays off his debt. But can the plan work? Well that depends: If the club owner will stop trying to turn down the music, if the DJ will play Ben's specially chosen songs to synchronize with the safe blasting, and if Ben's ex-girlfriend stops cornering him. As long as the cops don't see any drug use, Ben's team stays sober, and the escaped python from the transvestite's act doesn’t slither into the safe. As long as Gregory can refrain from killing them for just a little longer, and ... well, you get the picture. This a truly wonderful first time out for Schneider & Daywalt. Reminiscent of Lock, Stock and Go, it is a heist movie with a comic side. Scott really improves his standing by showing that he can actually act, and the rest of the cast are just as good -- notable performances by newcomers Hungerford and Sharp in supporting roles, as well as Kids in the Hall veteran Foley. The only down side is that it feels too short -- just when I was really rolling with it and the music was driving the plot along, it ended in a brilliant and funny way, but I wanted more. If you love club music, you will love this movie. Four out of five stars." --Todd, Creasings 3.Dec.02

"I like this movie. Watched it twice. It has pace, witty conversation, and it is well acted. I found it generally very, very funny and entertaining--which is a lot for Hollywood movies these days. 3.5 out of 4." --Emilio, Manila 6.Dec.02

© 2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall