Savages is Garbage
, 08 Aug 2013
Ben (Aaron Johnson), a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon (Taylor Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, home grown industry raising some of the best marijuana ever produced.. They also share Ophelia (Blake Lively). They seem to be living the perfect lifestyle until Mexican Baja Cartel get wind of their success and demand to partner with Ben and Chon. When the merciless head of the cartel, Elena (Salma Hayek), and her brutal enforcer, Lado (Benicio Del Toro) kidnap Ophelia she underestimates what the two will do to get her back and with the assistance of a slippery corrupt DEA agent (John Travolta) who has been a silent partner within in their drug business decides to turn the tables on the cartel. While this displays many of the characteristics of an Oliver Stone film, macho posturing, self indulgence, and extreme violence it seems he is loosing his identity has he gets older. The directors stock has been diminishing considerably since the travesty that is Alexander, a project that Stone refuses to let go of, another cut is due to be released which he promises is the last, that will have it at four versions. Though at least for that project Olly still had his own look, this film more resembles something by the late Tony Scott on a bad day. Savages shares some similarities with Scott's True Romance but it lacks it's charm, intelligence and you have no sympathy for one character on the screen. I have know form of reference concerning the source material as I haven't read Don Winslow's novel of the same name but it seems some love it and some think it utter childish drivel. If the source material is like this then I consider the author must have just been putting one of his wet dreams on the page. The cheese factor is set to maximum, the opening with Blake's Lively's Ophelia narration which continues through the film is the worst sort of hippy nonsense you could be subjected to. The conceit that the two guys share her bed and affections is dealt with in such a juvenile way that you'd have thought a fourteen year old and penned the script. Lively's not the best actress at the best of times but here with the dialogue she has to deliver she's downright dreadful. Johnson who made such a mark in Kick A** is barely recognisable as a so called Buddhist and Kitsch is just the usual cliched military hot head. As for Hayek as the main villain she's serviceable and not particularly frightening, Del Toro might well have been a terrifying presence but the film is so preposterous and the dialogue he's given is woeful that it's hard to take anything he says seriously. The words John Travolta have for a long time filled me with dread, completely squandering the opportunity that Tarantino gave him with Pulp Fiction to dial in cliched hammy turns in I'm just looking for my pay cheque fashion, his work here is no exception. Stone even tries to inject some depth into this with having Travolta at his dying Wife's bed, in a subplot that his Wife is dying of cancer and are heroes are providing her with their drugs to ease her pain, (what lovely guys), are we supposed to care about him and his predicament? especially when you consider his outcome at the end of the film, he's a scumbag with no redeeming features. This film is such a woeful mess which doesn't know what kind of tone it's trying to strike maybe if Stone had just made a stand up Action thriller and not tried to make it anything else but good dumb fun with it's tongue placed firmly in cheek but this film is entirely lacking humour and takes itself seriously, you should at all cost avoid this rubbish.
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