Love and a Bullet (2002)
User ReviewsAdd a Review
Also the whole, "I'm a professional" statements got old quick. Treach like Ice Cube can handle acting and his charisma carries over from music to screen.
MEGA SPOILER MEGA SPOILER MEGA SPOILER MEGA SPOILER MEGA SPOILER MEGA SPOILER
The last bit of the movie was pretty unreal. Like the last review I had just sat down with something you cant buy in the shops, and it all made bad sense but sense all the same until the end, where it came together like bad manga. The kung-fu guy was high kicking, the gun guy wanted a duel, and the crazy guy was crazy.
This film is an ok rental, but I would hate to get it as a Christmas present !!
I thought the story was very smart and original. Some good twists and turns.
The action scenes were exciting, original and very, very cool. A bit more gory than I expected.
The acting was pretty good. Especially since Treach is a rapper and sometimes there not very good.
It was a nice blend of comedy and action. The jokes were very good. It's no wonder it was written and directed by Ben Ramsey, who did The Big Hit.
Does anyone else think Treach sounds like Ice T, especially when narrating.
Overall I thought it was a funny, exciting, original and very, very cool movie.
The film is an attempt to do comic noir, and is definitely of a flavor similar to that of Tarantino's films and of the British neo-noir.
The problem such films have is one of bad taste - it's difficult to know when killing and hurting people can be made amusing, and when it just hurts and laughing at it is stepping close to something profoundly unhealthy.
However, "Love and a Bullet" only crosses that line a couple of times; and I think much of the appeal of the film comes out of the performance of Treach, who is right on the money throughout. Some of the dialog is over much, and more could have been done with less - although I admit that for a film put together for half-a-million in 2002, this really looks well-made. But I really mean less in the story and in the dialog, which goes over the top once too often to suit me.
But on the whole, an entertaining Post-Modern crime comedy of the 'outre' variety.
Charles Guardino plays Damien, a white mob boss that specializes in recruiting young black street muscle and turning them into trained assassins. We see Treach starting out with a amateur crew and murdering other brothers with abandon. He coldly slays a black pimp for being late to meeting. In another early scene he shows he doesn't need a gun to get the job done by silently strangling a sleeping thug with a white handkerchief. Impressed by his body count, Damien soon offers him a job with his organization.
Treach enters a world where he becomes one of six highly trained black killers. Along with them being impressive physical specimens, they each have their own trademark kill techniques. Putting that black muscle on display, we see them shirtless, or in martial arts gear, working out, lifting weights and practicing their lethal artistry. We watch as training leaves them exhausted, buff bodies gleaming with sweat, ready to do the boss's bidding. But nobody is under any illusions about the power structure. Damien surrounds himself with bodyguards -- a cadre of white bodybuilders -- leaving no doubt about how far he trusts his black employees. As the six assassins admit among themselves after completing hits ordered by Damien, the world belongs to white men -- they are just there to "take out the trash."
We see some exciting hits, including one where Treach and Buddy, his best friend on the hit squad, invade a house where a federal witness is being guarded by marshals. The black killers expertly eliminate each of the six white lawmen before taking out the witness. Back at headquarters, Buddy demands more money for his work on hits like these and a furious Damien marks him for death, sending some of his white bodyguards to do the deed. In some furious action, involving snapped necks, close quarter martial arts and expert gunplay, Buddy easily offs them one by one. Though we don't see who fires the fatal shot, Buddy is finally slain, with the suspicion that one of the six black killers took the contract to ice a "brother."
That lesson isn't lost on Treach and he begins to lay plans to leave the organization -- especially after falling in love with the beautiful black hit woman Hylene. In a series of graphic sex scenes (including a full frontal view of Treach's impressive manhood) the romance gets red hot and it's only a matter of time before Damien lets Treach know that love isn't healthy in his line of work. Hylene disappears and, at the same time, Damien orders Treach to snuff Cynda (Damien's black girlfriend whom he suspects of cheating) installing Treach in a sniper's nest across the street from her apartment. Even while he's aiming the rifle at her head, we can see Treach is developing feelings for her as he watches Damien slap her around. In a sick mind game with Treach, Damien won't give the final order to kill her, preferring to taunt Treach by letting him watch while he abuses her -- sometimes even winking at him from the window. Treach slowly loses it -- day after day, often stripped to just his boxers, his muscular black torso slick with sweat -- all the time with his crosshairs on Cynda's lovely face and Damien's leering smirk right there.
Having enough of his twisted game Damien calls off the hit, but Treach has other plans. Knowing that Cynda's life will never improve, he fires the fatal bullet to free her forever. Damien goes insane and orders his men to take out Treach and the final battle is on. First his remaining white musclemen are dispatched but they are no match for Treach's black fury. Their deaths only infuriate Damien all the more and he turns to Treach's former "brothers" to carry out the hit. In an orgy of black-on-black violence, Treach faces the best in the business --- and ices them, one by one. With guns blazing, kicks and fists flying and some incredible acrobatic fighting moves, each killer meets his end. In one particularly brutal fight, Treach drives an iron spike clean through the shaved head of one of his former buddies. Leaving a pile of black corpses, Treach goes looking for the white man responsible for it all and, in a hail of bullets, takes Damien's life.
There is a surprise waiting for Treach at the end of this movie and, badass killer that he is, you don't begrudge him a little happiness. Treach makes this movie -- all black muscle and attitude -- and elevates it beyond just another gangsta outing. The fights are awesome, the intrigue is cool, the sex is hot and the hits are cleverly staged -- like Wesley Snipes once famously said in another action movie, "always bet on black."
It was kind of a crime, action, thriller with a bit of comedy and romance thrown in - all of which kept it lively. It is very well paced, and moves along at a good rhythm.
It you like well built black men, you can definitely feast your eyes in this film. I don't remember when I have seen such a fine variety of good looking black actors. They all looked as if they worked out at the gym, also well-groomed, and wearing some really nice threads.
The film revolves around a young black man named Malik Bishop, played quite well by Anthony "Treach" Criss. I'm not familiar with him, but understand he is a rapper, and I think this may be his first acting role.
Malik has grown up under some rough circumstances and he is now a hit-man who works for an older white man named Damien Wiles (Charles Guardino), who has illusions that he is some kind of white Martin Luther King, when in reality he's a low life scumbag.
Damien has a young black woman who is his girlfriend, but he is concerned she is cheating on him and wants Malik to take her out.
The summary here at the website, regarding this film led me to believe that the hit-man was in love with Cynda, the kingpin's girlfriend, but Malik has his own girlfriend, Hylene. However, Cynda comes to influence Malik in making a major decision in his life.
Hylene, played by Shireen Crutchfield, is very pretty. She is a hit-woman, so she and Malik actually have a lot in common.
There's lots of shooting, but no gore, and in the version I saw on BET, there was no rough language at all either.
The dialog is breezy and fun, and the shoot-outs and action scenes are frequently done with tongue in cheek, for example Malik is looking straight ahead, but holding out his arm with the gun and shooting--and still hits the guy. So this film is also kind of a parody of the guns and hit men kind of films that are out there.
I Had no idea who Treach was, or to be honest still is, aside from hearing that he'd turned up in "Jason's Lyric" and the cover reminded me somewhat of the Keenan Ivory Wayans Flick, "A Low Down Dirty Shame", But these rather shallow points aside, there i sat, a glass of jack in one hand and the dvd remote control in the other.
As the movie gathered a pace, i'll be honest, the whole thing resembled a mish mash of everything, no bad thing, to anyone who ever saw the Bokeem Woodbine movie, "BlackMale" Released over here in Brittain as "BlackMail" a movie like the one in question, that is just so overloaded with everything, you just have to see it to believe it.
Treach's character, Malik Bishop has risen through the ranks of hoodlum hitman to professional Hitman, who suffers a crises of conscience, which is something that we are let in on, as we fade in at the beginning, then we flash back to where it all began.
Where do we go from there? I think at that point the Jack Daniels was really kicking in, because what unfolded, was so wild and wacky, it all kinda made sense. This was a movie consisting of comedic moments, Kung Fu, some serious gun play and a very strange take on Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream speech, as spoken by Malik's white Boss.
A really good soundtrack throughout, and a very, very good first time out performance by Sam Scarber as the Zen/Svengali Hitman, Buddy entrusted with the task of showing Bishop the finer points to being a hitman, more importantly, how to make a really good capuccino!
In the morning, after the jack had slightly worn off, i watched the DVD again, however with the director's commentary, and you know what, the movie was even better. What can i say, yes the alcohol made things easier, but even with or without, this was a very easy movie to watch, even more so second time around.
I mean, John Woo per se cannot guarantee anything these days. He will need time to recover from MI-2 and WINDTALKERS done back-to-back, but in 1998, it was his heyday. He was fresh from making his true Hollywood masterpiece FACE/OFF and producing a very fine HK pastiche REPLACEMENT KILLERS by certain Antoine Fuqua.
On the other hand, Snipes truly belongs to the group of my very favourite actors. I love his roles, especially all the genre stuff he does. By the time THE BIG HIT was released he was fresh from the work on the first BLADE which proved to be pivotal for the genre.
Anyhow, THE BIG HIT rocked big time and I`m glad it even made some cash.
Time went by. Director Kirk Wong did some TV work, got attached to SIX, Elie Samaha actioner with Michael Jai White that never got made, then got attached to IRON FIST and promptly fired, and in the end he directed Wesley`s biker project.
Kirk failed to make anything fly but he kept himself inside the game.
Screenwriter Ben Ramsey, on the other hand went AWOL for four years. The guy was gone. I don`t know whether he did some uncredited work or not. I guess not because some other films would rule. Now he`s back with LOVE AND A BULLET, a film that allegedly played some theatrical venues but ended up on video soon enough.
This movie is very, very cool. It is smart and it has this balls-to-the-wall attitude that graced THE BIG HIT. This low budget film was made for half a million bucks and it was cut by TriStar, so it doesn`t deliver lots of action. Even though this hitman comedy provides enough comic gore and violence to look dignified.
The story never gets half-cocked and it feels like it doesn`t actually belong to the tired hitman comedy subgenre.
Anthony "Treach" Criss of Naughty By Nature fame stars as Malik Bishop, a tough-as-nails gangsta kid turned elite hit man. While staking out his next assignment - the innocent girlfriend of his notorious boss - Malik reflects on the dark path he's chosen but cannot escape. Torn between his sense of duty and his newfound sense of humanity, he finds that the only way out is a perilous showdown with men who are every bit as cold-blooded as he is.
But this whole thing is done with witty ironic edge that made quiet scenes of THE BIG HIT so cool. This movie is inhabited exclusively by hitmen with a hard-on for Yaphet Kotto. This is the movie co-directed and written by a man who wrote the brilliant `dad looks like MIAMI VICE villain` gag in THE BIG HIT.
Ben Ramsey`s attitude is the sole reason why this movie kicks so much ass. Rappers turned actors, low budget and anonymous direction by Kantz (from the McG, Traktor and Kaos camp) are being disinfected by his sheer attitude and ability to tune the style and create a unique cinematic universe where all these elements actually work.
After seeing this movie which bravely and unasahamedly threads THE BIG HIT territory and manages to be entertaining, I cannot stop but wonder how come Ben Ramsey doesn`t write big Hollywood actioners these days if he proved to be talented. He is in the Skip Woods position now. He has one big budget screenwriting credit and an indie direction under his belt. But still, Woods first made the indie and then wrote the major while Ramsey did the same thing in reverse order.
It's nice to see how a killer can show feelings and control them and can't control them. Also it's not a typical gangster movie. Watch it!