New Movie Release
To my surprise, this film is actually
pretty damn good, and John Travolta
isn't even that annoying...go figure
First things first. I don't like drugs. I've never done drugs, and I want nothing to do with drugs.
And I didn't want to like this movie, because it is about drugs.
At first, I allowed that reasoning to cloud my judgement. So, when I saw Savages, the first 45 minutes of it pissed me off.
Allow me to explain.
You see, Blake Lively is a lovely young woman, Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson are extremely good looking men.
And for nearly the first half of Savages they seem to be on the screen as nothing more than eye candy.
But then things start to get interesting.
"If you want to control somebody, take what they love."
Remember this phrase.
Kitsch plays Chon, a former American soldier that has brought Afganistan's fine marijuana home to California and turned it into a thriving business with his best pal, Ben - played by Aaron Johnson.
Blake Lively is Ophelia, the Cali girl these two men share in some kind of weird three way.
The Mexican Cartel wants them to integrate their sophisticated business into their own - but these guys want no part of it.
I have seen real life photos of what the cartel does to people that displease them, and I don't blame Kitsch or Johnson a bit. Those Mexican Cartel types scare the shit out of me.
The cartel sends Miguel (Benicio del Toro) to kidnap Lively in an effort to bend the two weed growers to the cartel's will. Except this doesn't quite work out the way they hoped.
And this is where Savages starts to become something else....something rather good.
I think the best way to describe Savages as a love-turned-revenge story....with a twist.
Kitsch, you see, isn't some stoner that rolls over when things go to shit. He's an ex-SEAL - and he's got a group of loyal buddies that are also ex-SEALs, and damn good snipers as well.
John Travolta is not as annoying as usual, playing a corrupt DEA bigwig named Dennis. And true to form, he's in everybody's pocket.
The cartel leader is played by Selma Hayek, and boy do her acting chops show. I wish she'd been in more serious roles now....the last thing I saw her in was some forgettable Matthew Perry comedy.
Kitsch and Johnson first turn the tables on the cartel by stealing their money. Then they invoke that phrase above by turning the tables on Hayek herself by kidnapping her daughter.
I am not going to go any farther, because I don't want to ruin the film for those that haven't seen it yet.
One thing that did stand out to me was something I grew to appreciate as Savages moved forward. The action, the dialogue and the characters feel very real.
There is no overblown heroics, there are no speeches, and when a truck blows up - well, it just explodes and stops moving. It doesn't flip end-over-end with 50-story fireball.
I like that.
Oliver Stone, who directed Savages, hasn't made a decent flick since Platoon back in 1986. But that's just my opinion.
Savages goes a long way toward redeeming that, in my eyes. The camera work is good, the pacing typical Oliver Stone, the background characters and scenery are realistic.
All in all, as a whole the film works very well. Sometimes Savages is a little slow, but like I said - the pacing was set by Oliver Stone. It's to be expected.
Okay, Mr. Stone, time to up the ante and gives us some more tremendous film-making.