Dir: Roel Reiné
Star: Danny Trejo, Mickey Rourke, Anthony Michael Hall, Dina Meyer
This is one of the few films that I’ve watched without taking notes and then written a review. Which could be a good sign (it was with Bond). Only it’s not. Nope. Sorry. This isn’t a good film. The ending, by which I mean the last two minutes, is actually quite cute, and arguably should have been the starting point for a much better film. However, the rest is regurgitated derivative drivel, uninspired, insipid and incredibly dull.
On paper it looks fine acceptable not dreadful, with Danny Trejo, Danny Trejo’s pinky and perky nipples, and Mickey Rourke being ably and enthusiastically supported by Anthony Michael Hall and Dina Meyer, and the idea isn’t dreadful, albeit, equally, not in any manner original. This is a revenge film where the Devil sends back an outlaw with a conscience, Guerrero (Trejo), to wreak just punishment on the six comrades who betrayed him and so broke ‘the outlaw’s code’.
Already I’m wondering how many words* I can manage on this thin gruel. Well, for padding, the cinematography is decent if cliched and perhaps a bit stilted, albeit they stole from some decent if already overworked tropes. The music is fine and utterly unobtrusive. The plot is weak, which isn’t to say bad, just insipid and wafer thin, and the players do as best they can with such material, with (oddly?) Rourke faring best overall. Would Di Caprio and Mirren have done better? No. Their agents would have sensibly passed.
To explain the film in another manner, you could watch this just after boarding a plane and then watch it again prior to landing without realising that you’d watched it before. And. Well. It wouldn’t need to be a long-haul flight.
Pedestrian. Rote. Formulaic. Dull. Uninspired.
But enough of what’s good…. the dialogue is poor, almost laughably so, prosaic and predictable, with lines that might well have been aiming for a laugh delivering instead a slow exasperated sigh of listless boredom, for this is one of those films that feels quite a bit longer than it’s run-time (1:39), just not in a good way.
The plot is flat if perversely filled with a myriad of tired cliches that might have seemed cute when pumped full of caffeine and facing a deadline. Instead, on screen, it feels hollow and tired, in no small measure because there’s no-one to really identify with or to care about, nor meaning in the film. The whole thing felt as if heavily stylised set-scene after set-scene was linked together by really nothing tenuous, and overall the pacing is poor. Instead we have confusing explosions of action interspersed long slow drawn-out ‘meaningful’ moments that mean nothing and ‘go’ nowhere.
The bad guy is in the saloon? Okay! So, let’s surround the front (but not the back) doors with Gatling guns and… erm… then all walk inside… in front of our own guns… …for a chat……….. erm…. …and I was certain that I could hear Sam Pakinpah weeping when the blam-er-blam-ker-blammmer-blam-blam finally started. It was execrable.
This film is another example of the ‘good and original’ joke, with sadly very little being actually ‘good’, and whilst I’d like to say that it would be a decent diversion on a rainy day… well… I’d be lying. And you really should avoid it.
In summary, I was bored watching it and am even more bored writing it up, which is a shame, as at the back of my mind I can’t shift the feeling that there is or was a decent film to be made out of the ideas within. It’s just that we didn’t get one. Pity. Instead what we got was a revenge movie without a plot or sense of coherence.
* not many.