Saturday, February 15, 2014
Directed By: George Tillman Jr.
Written By: Joe & Tony Gayton
Cinematography By: Michael Grady
Editor: Dick Westervelt
Music By: Clint Mansell
Cast: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gugino, Tom Berneger, Courtney Gains, Maggie Grace, Mike Epps, Xander Berkley, Moon Bloodgood, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jennifer Carpenter, Oliver Jackson-Cohen
A lone man, recently released from prison, seeks out the people from his past who he believes betrayed him. While he forces each to atone for their sins, he must also face what meting out vengeance will do to his immortal soul. Meanwhile, he's not the only one looking to settle old scores. Hired by the man responsible for the events which lead him to prison, an eccentric contract killer follows his every move. Scenes of them crossing paths, sometimes violently, are interspersed with the assassin's self-realizations of how to deal with struggles within his own life. As if old enemies & hired guns aren't enough, a young female detective begrudgingly works alongside a veteran investigator looking to simply survive his last two weeks on the force before retirement, as they seek out the brazen ex-con who has been blazing a path of gasoline-powered destruction in his vintage Chevelle. Dwayne Johnson's first straight-up action film since Doom in 2005. In between the two, Johnson mainly took roles in comedies and family movies.
The film tries to show that when you are taking be vengeance on someone who deserves it. You aren't just affecting them, but also heir loved ones who know them in a different light and don't necessarily deserve to lose that person from their life or all you are creating is a vicious circle to be repeated.
Though it loses it's message by sensationalizing it's action scenes that feel graphic hard hiring and hardcore. George Tillman Jr., who primarily directs dramas, made this film as an homage to action films from the 1970s. it shows, Tillman Jr. had no prior experience in directing action films. Prior to shooting, Tillman Jr. gave all the actors a folder filled with information about their respective characters as well as a list of films to watch and take notes from.
Making Dwayne Johnson's character seem nearly supernatural and indestructible makes the film seem ridiculous at times.
The film begins with a bang leading is right into shocking action sequences.
Where the film becomes somewhat more then what it seems towards the middle then we learn about everyone's past bit by bit making us slowly discover things and piece I together.
Billy Bob Thornton's storyline in the film at first starts off as cliche, but becomes more interesting and shocking as the film goes on.
Salma Hayek was cast as Cicero, but dropped out a week before filming began due to a scheduling conflict.
It starts off like a typical action film. Slick fast cuts, bright lighting, flashy muscle cars, locations that are extravagant yet bare. As the film goes in it slowly reveals something more. It has a few missteps also that cheapen any progress the film starts to make.
The film introduces a side assassin who is put there to show someone else on Johnson's tail other then the cops and he is a good character in the wrong movie here. He is a self made man who after overcoming paralysis has achieved all his goals and takes killing up as a lark to prove he is better then the man he hit a, but this latest assignment becomes his obsession. While he keeps escaping his clutches. He even avoids his own wedding for this hunt. It just felt ridiculous or like it is only there to have a character they can have appear in sequels or straight I DVD spinoff's and can't get snot of the stars to come back. His story seems like a superhero tale. Or like Kraven the hunter from the Spider-Man comic books only not as insane.
The only thing hay disturbed me wasn't anything In the film, but actually the loudmouth in the audience, cheering of the death of every character. He would get hyped when Dwayne was about to kill or actually kills someone. It didn't matter to him that the film presented cases of why he should have mercy on this guy or that guy. The audience member just wanted to see death. This film seems like it was made for that type of crowd and don't care about the nuances. The film was trying to present. I both applaud the film and jeer it a bit. As his reaction really made me question what is was watching and what it was actually saying to a non-discerning audience. Phil Joanou (THREE O’CLOCK HIGH) was originally attached to direct.
The film is actually better then you think it will be.