This movie has a lot of plot holes, but it’s also a lot of fun. It’s the kind of mindless escapism you can have in the summer, as long as you don’t analyze all the hokey stuff happening on screen. There’s not an original thing any of these characters do, but the characters are so lively.
Bill Paxton and Edward James Olmos play evil wonderfully. We get Fred Ward and James Marsden in interesting roles. Paula Patton is nude. It’s hard to have a problem with that, but it did come off as a bit gratuitous. It also looked exactly like the opening scene Denzel Washington had with a flight attendant in Flight. If Patton was going to decide to go topless, why in the world didn’t she do it in her husband Robin Thicke’s video for Blurred Lines? But I digress.
What keeps this movie from being a turkey are two things. One of those things is director Baltasar Kormakur. He is good at giving us colorful characters in these types of films. He did it with Mark Wahlberg in Contraband (a much better action picture).
The other thing that works is the chemistry Wahlberg and Washington have. It’s entertaining to watch them banter back and forth.
The movie, based on a graphic novel by Steven Grant, follows a DEA agent and Naval intelligence officer, both working undercover and assuming the other is just a common criminal. It gives nothing away by pointing out these two are set up, and they need to work together to find out what happened after a bank robbery went horribly wrong.
One of my pet peeves in these types of films is the fact that they always want to throw all these dirty cops or government agents at us. We have to put logic aside for so many reasons, and I always find myself thinking – if you don’t know who to trust, why not just show up at a news station and tell them the story? They used to do that in these types of pictures in the ‘70s.
The $43 million dollars the two guys “stole” from the bank now has them being wanted by everybody. A drug kingpin that will throw you in with bulls and put your head in a duffel bag, an agent that will put a gun to your crotch and fire it if you don’t answer his questions, and the entire U.S. Navy! See what I mean? I feel idiotic just writing out that premise, but again, it’s not bad.
The 3rd act ends up being ridiculous, and it’s disappointing to realize that this movie could’ve been so much better.
One type of scene I never get tired of in films like this, is when a character shows how great a shot they are. In this, it’s Wahlberg taking out chickens (a scene that will bother animal lovers).
The one type of scene I hate, is when people stake out the bad guys house. And for the sake of the camera showing us what they see, they’re literally right across the street. So we need to believe that bad guys, bringing millions of dollars into a residential area, wouldn’t notice two guys sitting in a ’68 Camaro watching them (or hearing the loud engine starting up as they follow the car).
I really think it’s time for Denzel Washington to pick some better scripts. He’s wasting his talent on runaway trains, runaway airplanes, and goofy over-the-top characters.
I give the movie half a star more for playing The Dead Weather song “Die by the Drop,” but I take that half star away for having them blow up a cherry red ’64 Impala.
It gets 2 ½ stars out of 5.