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Crooked More at IMDbPro »Soft Target (original title)

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Corked...

2/10
Author: Frank Markland from United States
22 March 2007

Don "The Dragon" Wilson and Olivier Gruner star as two cops who protect a hooker from crooked cops, mobsters and pretty much anonymous goons who killed fellow policeman Fred Williamson. Who killed Fred Williamson? The answer is obvious from the first ten minutes and the movie is deadly dull to watch. One of the saddest things is that Olivier Gruner is actually the only one trying, which is sad because he still is the worst actor on a professional level, still despite his hopelessly inept acting he still comes off better than Don 'The Dragon' Wilson who treats this awful material as if he was straining for Oscar contender quality. It is just a ridiculous performance with a complete lack of knowledge of realizing what type of movie he's in. You're not in the movie Heat, Don. The one bright spot is the hilarious portrayal from Gary Busey, who sparkles on would be zen and optimistic B.S that would feel right at home on a midnight telethon. Plus Busey looks undeniably drunk as if he was forced to go without booze for a couple weeks and his strung out look as well as the atrocious dialog is hilarious. It's the film's only enjoyment. And what of those action sequences? Well I would comment on them if I could actually make sense of what was going on in the fight sequences. Don Wilson and Olivier Gruner have always been at least competent at kicking the crap out of people, but with the awful editing and terrible quick cuts that pretty much distance you from getting into the action, one comes to realize that without even 1/3 of the acting talent of Jean-Claude Van Damme or Dolph Lundgren, it becomes obvious that Don may want to just give up the movies if he can't do the required martial arts to sell the concept that he's a tough guy, since the lacking fan-base isn't going to keep buying if this is all The Dragon can come up with. Crooked is about as bad as Seagal's recent efforts (Well I haven't seen anything past Today You Die...) and with movies like Wake Of Death and Russian Specialist out on the shelves, let alone R rated action flicks making a comeback, there is no excuse for unwatchable crap such as this. I'm hoping Olivier Gruner's next movie will be at least funny. Oh and a tip for Don, after seeing Redemption and this, stay away from Art Camacho. I mean seriously I never saw a director who made me pine for the incompetence of Fred Olen Ray.

* out of 4-(Bad)

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Not quite bad enough to be funny

1/10
Author: Shyruban from Canada
4 February 2007

Wow... Luckyly i didn't put myself through watching the whole thing... It's probably the only thing good about this movie... You know that it stinks within a few minutes :) Bad generic cliché script...Bad acting.. Bad choreography in action scenes.. Also horribly badly cut... Gary Busey must be pretty desperate and ''has been'' to play in something like this... I just found out i have to write 10 lines to post a comment, but I've never had to write 10 lines on how bad a movie is before :) I wish there was a way to get fair quotes on movies.... Obviously it'll never happen.Go see the vote results :) 6 voted 10\10 obviously members of the crew.. i predict it'll go down to 3\10 in no time... Find something better to waste your time on.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Clichéd, generic and dull. I can't think of a single reason you should go out of your way to see this.

Author: aloep from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
24 February 2007

My expectations for this weren't high as it was directed by veteran hack Art Camacho and the trailer looked awful. And it was more or less as bad as I expected but I felt compelled to check it out anyway because of the number of well known B-movie stars in the cast. The script is horribly clichéd, "One who lives by the rules, one who lives to break them", Don "The Dragon" Wilson's performance for the most part was terrible and he's starting to move a lot slower with age, his fights are poorly choreographed also. Olivier Gruner has improved quite a bit with time in both his acting and his English and did a passable job in the tired role as the clichéd "play by his own rules" cop. Diana Kauffman is sexy as the protected witness, but that's about all I can say in her favour and it's not remotely convincing when she finds herself attracted to an ageing Don "The Dragon" Wilson.

The action is all extremely poor. Much of it consists of small scale shootouts where the bad guys fire, good guys fire back, bad guys fall etc. where in some cases it's difficult to see who's shooting who. The fight scenes aren't good, Olivier Gruner fights much more naturally than Don "The Dragon" Wilson, who's fight scenes are so badly cut that it's very hard to see what's going on. The opening fight scene with him is particularly awful, I could have done better with the right choreographer and he was "arguably the best kickboxer in the world".

While a supporting cast of Fred Williamson, Martin Kove and Gary Busey may look appealing on paper it's best to go with the old "Never judge a book by it's cover" in this case. Fred Williamson spends his time in one motel room in the opening scene and is shot after a few minutes. Gary Busey is one of the central characters but spends all of his screen time sitting in an office until towards the end when he walks into a parking lot, gets in a car, turns the key in the ignition and it cuts to a stock footage shot of a BMW exploding in a cobbled street which is very obviously somewhere in Eastern Europe. The shot is taken from Mission Impossible and was shot in Prague, yet this movie is set and filmed in Los Angeles. There are even Ladas and other Eastern European cars visible, not to mention the fact that there aren't even any cobbled streets or historic architecture in LA. You can also clearly see that the car Busey gets into is directly facing a wall. The BMW that explodes is sitting in the middle of a wide cobbled street. The fact that easily spotted errors were left in the film proves how little even the crew cared as you would think that they could have found stock footage which at least matched the location. Martin Kove appears in one scene in the first quarter, then appears at the end only to get shot dead. I've still not worked out a good reason for the existence of this character in the film other than to add a little more B-grade "star power" to the front cover.

Two CGI explosions. One mismatched stock footage explosion. Minimal property damage. Several poorly choreographed fight scenes. Lots of boring gunfights.

On DVD in the USA now as "Crooked" with a price tag of around $20. Fans of Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Olivier Gruner, Gary Busey, Fred Williamson or Martin Kove may think they're somehow obliged to check it out anyway. I have only got two things to say: "you're not" and "don't". I suggest you avoid it like a bubonic rat.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Deserves a remake

3/10
Author: Ismaninb from Suriname
13 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As others have been so negative, I will try to stress the positive sides. Not that there are many. After all I think the movie only worth 3/10. The reason I watched the movie until the end is the reasonably interesting plot. Sure, the director does his utter best to kill that too. Again he fails. Two cops, who dislike each other, have to protect a witness. One member of their homicide team is an informant for the mob leader of the town. The latter wants the witness to be killed and wants the money she knows about. Admit it: this does not sound too bad.

Indeed, as a result there are a couple of nice scenes. I mean the the "good cop vs bad cop" trick played on the witness and the quarrels between the two.

Being this not a B-movie, but a C-movie at best we cannot expect too much from acting. Fred Williamson did some blaxploitation police stuff in the 70's. It is quite revealing, that he actually is one of the better actors. Gary Busey never rose above D-level. We should be happy, we don't see him too much. But the others really did not annoy me too much. That is quite an achievement in a stupid movie like this.

The main culprit is the script - or what was left from it by the director, if we are to believe Wcmartell. It is awful. My conclusion is, that the idea deserves a remake by a skilled director.

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19 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Read The Screenplay

Author: wcmartell from United States
21 December 2006

Here's the screenplay as a PDF file - read and compare the the finished film.

http://www.scriptsecrets.net/screenplays/target.pdf

The script was once under option by a studio-based producer who couldn't get their name actor to commit. After bouncing around town, they made this film from it.

BACKSTORY ON THE STORY:

SOFT TARGET is about a top secret hit-man who can get past police protection to assassinate witnesses against the mob. One person has seen the hit-man's face and lived - a woman. The reason why this hit-man can bypass police? He's a detective. So the police department grabs their two most trustworthy detectives to find the woman and take her *somewhere* (don't tell us where) and when the beeper goes off, take her to the grand jury to identify the hit-man. They pick a random motel and WHAM! they are attacked. So the big question becomes - who can you trust? And that's where my theme came from. Every character has a *story purpose* (like the chief of detectives or a minor assassin disguised as a hotel maid) but they also have a *theme purpose*, too - and that provides character and subtext.

So here's how I came up with my characters... What traits make you *not* trust someone?

Can you trust someone who never shows their emotions? Can you trust someone who turns everything into a joke? Can you trust someone who is more intelligent than you are? Can you trust someone who is really moody? Can you trust someone who is too slick? Can you trust someone who always agrees with you? Can you trust someone who has serious substance abuse problems? Can you trust someone who is...

Each of these theme traits are great doorways into character. And they are ways to show the differences in character, ways that will pop up again and again in the script (because the story keeps putting characters in situations where they must trust each other to survive... and situations where they can't trust each other).

Once I had the theme traits, I thought about what kind of person has these traits and how they came to have them. I created a backstory for the characters and that backstory had other character elements - say, some guy who was in the military where he learned how to go along to get along or some guy who was in an abusive home and learned to hide his emotions or some guy who... well, you get the idea. I came up with backstories that fit the theme traits and gave me other traits that define the character.

Then I looked at how each character talked - everyone has a different vocabulary. Different pet phrases. Hey, some of these pet phrases may have something to do with theme! I was using theme to explore character *and* explore story *and* take a look at society (in a world where it's hard to find someone to trust, post 9/11).

Next I looked at actions and reactions - everyone has a different method for solving problems or dealing with problems. Again, these are thematic, and also *show* character through actions.

Then I looked at their world view - everyone sees the world through their past experiences.

Then at the way they process information - everyone has a different type of "mental filing cabinet".

I know my characters, they start talking to me in their own voices and I could see the world as they see it (rather than as I see it), and they all become individuals - their own persons.

Now I had three dimensional characters who are helping to explore the theme - we're going to look at trust in our modern times and why we need to trust others instead of lock the doors to our lives and trust no one. Because the story for SOFT TARGET places the characters in a world where they really can't trust others... and they maybe can't even trust themselves (what if they *accidentally* gave information to a friend who ends up being the bad detective?) we can look at how hard it is to trust someone these days but how important it is to trust people... because we can't go it alone. We can't just isolate ourselves from the world and still have a life. If we're going to survive as a society we have to work together... and that means we have to trust people. Sometimes we have to trust strangers... and that's the point of the story.

Then, they made some changes. Read the original script and tell me what you think. Did they improve it... or not?

- Bill

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