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Jack, Thomas and Wayne are the Stickmen. They like nothing more than to have a beer in one hand, a pool cue in the other, a coin on the table and their mates around them. They play pub pool for fun and money at Dave's bar. Desperate to get out of debt, Dave gets the Stickmen entered into a high stakes pool tournament run by vicious crime boss "Daddy". He also gets them into a whole rack of trouble. Can the Stickmen beat the odds, pocket the money, win the girls and save Dave? You rack 'em, they crack 'em. And never take your eye off the ball. Written by
Evan Yates <email@example.com>
Fairly derivative stuff but still quite fun to watch if you're in an undemanding mood
Jack is a ladies' man who can barely remember the names of the many women he has had in his bed even when they are still in his bed. Wayne has been dumped by his girlfriend, while Thomas barely sees his and is starting to cheat with Sara. Together they have one main love playing pool in their local bar. When the barman gets into money trouble he strikes a deal with loan shark 'Daddy' to bet the rest of the bar on his three customers to win Daddy's annual high profile pool contest. Going under the name Stickmen, the trio enter the contest, but can they keep their nerves among distractions and Daddy's violent methods for managing anything.
Not sure what this was about, I decided to give it a go in the absence of anything else that I really wanted to see. The film marks itself out as being based around the visual style and snappy dialogue of things like Lock, Stock, with the similar theme of crime and cool protagonists. In this regard I kind of accepted that this film wasn't going to do anything special at any point and I just met it on its own terms. The plot is nothing more than a collection of unlikely pool games punctuated with talking, f*cking or fighting all on the way to the inevitable conclusion with a few unconvincing twists. It never really does anything unexpected but it does have a certain energy to it that keeps it watchable.
The director has learnt from other people and gives the film a good atmosphere with a good sense of energy and style again it is hardly different or unique but it does work well enough to do the job. The script has the same rough energy to it, mixing pop culture references with enough of a flirtatious swagger to come across as entertaining even if it lacks any real laughs, clever scripting or wit. The cast help the script in this area, with some typically New Zealand acting tough guys, sassy women etc. Magasiva is a nice presence build, sexy and with good charisma; he has little to do other than that but he is as required. Wills provides some good laughs and even Rotondo deals well with the fact that he has to carry much of the actual story involving his character and Sara. Nordhaus also has this problem and she does better than the material allows. Kessell is very cute and sexy but doesn't do much more than that but in fairness the film didn't ask for anything else. The various support characters all help keep the films energy with several colourful parts, albeit they just gimmicks rather than people.
Overall this is not a very good film but it treads a solid path that is energetic and stylish enough to cover its many weaknesses and produce a roughly enjoyable film. Lacking anything original to do and with a pretty thin plot, it falls to the director's style, snappy dialogue, sex, violence and pool scenes to carry the film; they're not much cop any of them but they do enough to carry the film anyway.
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