The Immortals (1995)
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I was pleasantly surprised. It's definitely no great film, but I actually enjoyed it. Sure, it's cheesy here and there, and it would've benefited from better direction. But I'd call it a hidden gem for any crime film fan to find.
An original, if bizarre, premise leads to some left-field drama and several genuinely funny moments. It's simply one of those late-night pleasures.
The plot isn't extremely complicated. It's about a nightclub owner, Jack(Eric Roberts who shows why all his movies lately have been direct-to-video) who picks 8 people(Tia Carrere, Chris Rock, Joe Pantoliano, Clarence Williams III, William Forsythe, Keiran Mulroney, writer Kevin Bernhardt and Brian Finney), all with terminal illnesses to rob a crimelord(Tony Curtis). But when they get betrayed it turns into an all-out battle for survival...and a very entertaining one at that.
After the movie gets into its second act it turns into 'Predator' style game of who's next to die. But one thing that raises "The Immortals" above the average heist thriller is that the characters aren't stereotypes but real people. I actually cared for the characters when they died.
While "The Immortals" won't win any Oscars, and won't make any critics top ten list, it's still an entertaining rental. 7/10
Anyway, this movie is about death, and life leading up to death. Jack, a nightclub owner, works for the mafia, but has decided to rip them off, so he hires a number of people with past criminal records to get these cases. What is unusual is that these people have records ranging from petty fraud to armed robbery, and all that is required is to walk into some place, place a gun in people's faces and take the money. Something not that difficult. Even more strange is that he has paired people up with people whom they do not like.
The ploy becomes apparent when one of them returns and learns that his partner also has aids, though he got it from sharing a needle. A quick questioning of people reveals that they are all dying of incurable diseases. A couple we learn nothing about, and one of them is retarded. Jack does this because he knows that it is a very dangerous job and that by taking people who are going to die anyway, they will have nothing to loose.
The idea raised in this movie is that we are all going to die sometimes. There are times when there is the idea of giving up all hope of doing anything, and another time there is the idea of life itself being relative, all life is precious to somebody who is going to die. We see the first idea with the Harvard graduate. At first we think that he may be lying but when he is running from the police, he gives an accurate description of the crimes that he has committed and the maximum penalties for each. So we wonder what a Harvard graduate is doing committing crimes when he could be earning a very good salary. Either he doesn't want to work hard, or he wants easy money. It is neither because he tells us that he has a brain tumor. He we see somebody working very hard, only to learn that all of this work has been in vain because he is never going to be able to reap the rewards.
This is a common biblical theme. In the book of Ecclesiastes we read how everything is meaningless, including toiling under the sun (which is work). What is the point of working hard for a lot of money, when you are going to die and leave it to somebody who is simply going to waste it. On the other hand Jesus speaks of the man who plans on retiring on a huge lump sum only to die the day before he retires. Working for a reward in the end is meaningless because we may never get to spend it. What point is there of working for something that we are never going to use? It is true that if we do not work, we do not eat, but beyond that what point is there to life if all of our toil is going to end in nothing? The other theme is that life is precious to one who is going to die. This is seen clearly when the guy who is dying of aids points out that it does not matter whether you have two months to live, you have two weeks to live, you are still going to die. This is what we should remember. These people have something that we don't have, they know when they are going to die. Unfortunately we don't want to think about that, and because of that we simply procrastinate. We should remember that we will all die, it is something that we cannot escape, and because of it we should live our lives as if it were the last day on earth.
The culmination of all of this pain and suffering was when Jack and George (the retarded guy) stood in a tunnel and a light appeared at the end. Standing in the light was a long haired man. George looks at this man and says, "I have read about you, you are God." Of coarse it was not God, but this is the culmination of all of this death. Here we are facing God, and what do we do. We might all try to predict what God is like and what he is going to do when we meet him, but we can never work anything out unless we are told. What is the point of saying that God will do this when nobody has told us that. It is like saying that Fred down the road will give me $50, even though I have never met Fred and have been told nothing about him. How can we say that, yet we think we can. The only way we can know what God wants is to listen to what he has to say, and that is seen in the bible.
The Immortals is a very good and very deep movie. My friends probably feel uncomfortable with it because it delves very deep into the idea of death and how we all have to die. This isn't a simple shoot them up, this is people who are dying of forces beyond their control. Death is really close here because any of us could be in this position.
Speaking of action, it never stops. If you like bloody gunfights, this is your movie. It was a good idea to cast Tony Curtis. He classes up the movie. Eric Roberts is excellent as usual. William Forsythe, Joe Pantoliano, and Tia Carrere as the thieves step up to the plate and give it their all in the roles. Chris Rock, on the other hand, looks confused to why he's in the movie.
In the end: "The Immortals" is worth watching for the different plot twist and non-stop bloody action.
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