Monday, August 13, 2012
Late Movie Review: Savages
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek
Writers: Shane Salerno, Don Winslow, Oliver Stone
Director: Oliver Stone
**'s out of Four.
There are two different versions of Oliver Stone. One is the political side where he is giving comentary on a particular issue ("JFK", "Wall Street", "Platoon"). The other is the crazy side where he just has fun giving us wild stories and characters. "Savages" belongs in the second category, but Mr. Stone wants to have a message about drug trafficing in there, too. It's too bad that he doesn't fully succeed on both counts.
The story follows two pot growers Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Johnson), as well as their live-in girlfriend O (Blake Lively). The two have become very profitable and have been contacted by the Mexican drug cartel's leader, Elena (Salma Hayek). She wants the two to start growing their award winning pot for only the cartel and to make sure they agree, she kidnaps O. You can suspect what happens after that. The two go after one of the biggest drug runners in the world.
This could have been a nice little movie with vengeance, sex, and heavy gun play. The characters and situations were very interesting and, for most of the time, I was really enjoying this flick. Salma Hayek and John Travolta were hamming up every scene and I love them for it. In fact, they and Benicio Del Toro were the only cast members who understood that this was meant to be more of a shlocky exploitation tale. Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch were fine in their roles, but they tried too hard to be real people when they should have really camped-up their characters. Blake Lively was there just for eye candy. They could have used any girl in that role and the results would be no different. I have seen better acting in porn films than I did watching her.
The biggest travesty this movie placed on its audience is the very end. I won't spoil it, but it makes no damn sense. Especially after hearing O's narration in the beginning. "Savages" is also more than two hours long and never once is the length ever justified. The characters and situations may be fun, but they are not so fun that I would want to stay that long with them.