Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Death Sentence

A friend who smells like a wet dog recommended this one to us the other day. He didn't recommend it as in "It's so awesome, you are going to love it!" No. As in "It's so awful, you are going to love it!"

I love those kind of recommendations.

Kevin Bacon plays a father with the perfect family. Beautiful wife, great job and two sons that would make any man proud. We, the viewers, are made aware of his perfect life right from the opening credits. A montage that would make Sylvester Stallone proud highlights the ups and ups of what a great life this dude has. Oh, and if you didn't catch that then there is the first scene of the movie at his office. He's a risk manager for an insurance firm and he is reassured to read that non-smoking married men with two kids get to live the longest. He actually reads that out loud to an associate of his and then gives us an aw-shucks tip of the head to confirm that he, indeed, is that guy.

Too bad its all gonna go to Hell when his eldest son, after scoring the winning goal in a high-school hockey game (natch), is killed in an initiation ritual by the big screen's first multi-racial gang since The Warriors. White, black, Latino. This gang will accept anyone. As long as they kill a random somebody to prove they are a man. Seriously, this gang's theme song must be "It's a Small World After All". Gotta love a street gang with Utopian ideals.

Cue the bad music, sibling rivalry (did Daddy love Brendan more than Luke? The answer is "yes", by the way) and the multi-layered revenge motifs. Daddy is out to bag the baddie that killed his darling boy and the gang bangers are out to get him once he caps the kid who got his son. Vicious circle, if you ask me.

This leads to some awesome hilarity. Like the gangs ill-fated first attempt on his life. A shootout. In broad daylight. In the middle of a busy city neighborhood. My favorite part of that sequence was Kevin Bacon running through a parking garage, throwing himself on car after car to set off their alarms. In an attempt to confuse his pursuers, you see. OK...written out like that it doesn't seem very funny. But trust me, if you saw his face while he was doing it you would be laughing too. And it only gets sillier from there.

Oooh. Oooh. You know what I love in a movie? I love when they use the title of the film somewhere in the film itself. You know, like Paul Newman saying "Somebody up there likes me!" at the end of Somebody Up There Likes Me. This one has the leader of the U.N. gang tell Kevin Bacon that he has given the rest of his family a death sentence, man! Chilling, right?

Now, I normally don't give away spoilers in these reviews. But I'm gonna go against my rule this one time only to talk about the most awesome scene ever included in a revenge film. The head detective assigned to his case, after finding out that he killed the first gang banger who killed his son, visits him in the hospital where he is recovering from gunshot wounds. Oh, and dealing with the death of his wife and his second son (who is actually still alive, but he doesn't know that) at the hands of the U.N. gang.

And she's pissed at him! Really! She tells him that it ends here, right now. No more. That he has been given a second chance and he should move on. She tells him that no one wins these wars, that she will haul his ass into jail if he even thinks about continuing with his vendetta. But the point is that she is super fucking pissed at him. The guy just lost his entire fucking family (he thinks), and she is pissed at him! Yeah, I get that vigilantes are bad, but feel a little sorry for the guy. C'mon!

Anyway, you pretty much get what you expect with this piece of trash. Bad acting, bad action sequences, bad music (I mentioned that already, right?) and bad character development. What does it add up to?

An hour and fifty minutes of pure heaven, my friends. That's what it adds up to.

PS - and I didn't even mention an awesomely awful cameo from John Goodman as an underworld type crime figure...with a twist. Oops I just did.


badgerdaddy said...

I had completely forgotten I'd seen this! Yes, it was hilarious. My brother-in-law was enthusiastic about it, and I don't like to piss on his enthusiasm so watched it one afternoon. The violence is completely absurd - never mind the idea that this simple family man could genuinely fuck with any self-respecting gang. I mean really...

B.E. Earl said...

His showdown with them at the end where he "looked like one of them" was awesomely awful!

Slyde said...

never heard of this all

B.E. Earl said...

Slyde - it's awful(ly awesome)!

lotus07 said...

I must see this almost reads like a comedy.

B.E. Earl said...

Lotus - Almost? You mean it's might not be? ;)

Mik said...

Greta review and having seem the flick, spot on.

One of those I can't believe I walked down the hill to rent this crap.

At least it wasn't a Steven Seagal [sic] movie, I know they are crap but I still seem to rent the latest one thinking they might have gotten better, what am I smokin'?