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The Butcher (2009)

Not Rated | | Action, Thriller | 14 July 2009 (USA)
For nearly twenty years after his boxing career ended Merle Hench works for Murdoch, the capo of a San Fernando mob outfit. Merle spends his days cracking heads and collecting debts, it is ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Larry Cobb
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Jackie
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Doyle
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Eddie Hellstrom
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Chinatown Pete
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Owen Geiger
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Rose
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1970's IRA Commander (as Vernon Maxwell)
Maddy Howard ...
Waitress
Anthony V. Pugliese III ...
The Man from Reno
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Car Buyer
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Storyline

For nearly twenty years after his boxing career ended Merle Hench works for Murdoch, the capo of a San Fernando mob outfit. Merle spends his days cracking heads and collecting debts, it is not a job he enjoys. Cool, calm and collected, soft spoken even, Merle's an anachronism, a man out of place and out of time. His Boss thinks Merle has outlived his usefulness and is expendable. So they set him up to take the fall for a multi-million $ heist of a rival mob boss. A habitual gambler on a 20 year losing streak, Merle's luck turns as he survives the trap and winds up with a piece of the take and the girl. Merle might have been content to just disappear and spend his windfall with Jacqueline. But the betrayal of his loyalty for 20 years snapped something inside. Merle Hench, otherwise known as the Butcher is slow to anger yet quick to act, he's learned to live and let live to keep on going, but not this time. Everyone thought his nickname was a joke, what they didn't know was that Merle ... Written by The Film Catalogue

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

never gamble when you are desperate ...

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

14 July 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Enemies  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Merle kept saying the charger was a original 69 charger. To bad its actually a 71/72 charger. See more »

Goofs

When The Butcher considers selling his muscle car, he advertises it to the potential buyer that this is a 1969 Charger. This is not correct, as the body styling and interior featured on his car wasn't introduced until 1971. (It's either a 1971 or 1972 model.) See more »


Soundtracks

Sex and Candy
Written by John Wozniak
Performed by Marcy Playground
Courtesy of Capital Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
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User Reviews

 
"Why did you never shoot that way for me?"
25 March 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

While Isaac Florentine has a death grip on the title of "best direct-to-video action director," Jesse V. Johnson is definitely a runner-up. More restrained than Florentine, Johnson displays a particular aptitude for character development and storytelling, and in no instance more so than the vehicle crafted for star Eric Roberts. While not the action-packed extravaganza that I had been hoping for, it is an excellent crime-thriller that proves the cinematic experience is possible on a small budget.

The story: Double-crossed by the underworld syndicate employing him, a washed-up debt collector (Roberts) strikes back by stealing a multimillion dollar take.

With a 113-minute runtime, THE BUTCHER is a longer-than-average low budgeteer, but makes it worth it by building up its characters and allowing the actors to amply show their acting chops. This investment, in turn, is made worth it by the seriously good cast. Cult star Eric Roberts has the same natural charisma as David Carradine or Lance Henriksen, making any scene he appears in entertaining by default. Villain Robert Davi is in a similar league and for all the seems like he was gearing up for a BOARDWALK EMPIRE audition. Also in the credits are the spectacular Irina Bjoerklund, Keith David, Geoffrey Lewis, Bokeem Woodbine, and Michael Ironside – occupying roles of varying sizes but all working towards my general impression of "Wow, I forgot that movies like this could have good acting in them!" The story they perform is a slow burner, sometimes too slow for my liking, but the atmosphere it creates along the way is excellent and its avoidance of cliché is welcome.

The one bad thing about the story is that it comes at the expense of the action, which – despite the claims of the DVD case – is not evident "from start to finish." Uncharacteristically for the director's movies, there is very little hand-to-hand content, which is disappointing considering the supporting cast's inclusion of Dominquie Vandenberg, Dan Southworth, and Jerry Trimble (who gives a surprisingly wicked dramatic performance). Its focus is on gunplay, but you'll have to wait until the second half to see anything substantial. There are three big shootouts, and while most of them lack overall creativity, each features at least a couple moments of cool absurdity. Roberts shoots through a brick wall with a shotgun to dispatch an enemy, and later grabs a decorative Browning machinegun to take on a club. The final shootout in a bar makes up for a lot with its hyper-violent choreography; it's worth waiting for.

When I think of "bad" B-movies of the pre-2000s, I think of poorly-made shlock. When I think of "bad" B-movies of the 2000s and beyond, I imagine well-made but dramatically vapid shlock. It's nice to come across a movie that makes such a point of avoiding both pitfalls, and it's good to know that there are indeed filmmakers out there who take this particular tier of filmmaking seriously. While I really wish there had been more action, THE BUTCHER is worth at least the price of a rental.


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