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The Butcher
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Butcher More at IMDbPro »

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The Butcher

8/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
3 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you want to see Eric Roberts kill a lot of people, then 'The Butcher' is the movie for you. As ridiculous as they are, I have an affinity for these "one man army" movies where someone, on his own, must overcome a militia, in this case a mobster's goons.

Roberts is a mobster's "enforcer", the guy who is an expert at removing thorns from the ass of his boss. This mobster, Murdoch(Robert Davi) has his eyes on money laundering, and sets up Merle(Roberts)to take the fall regarding the theft of a heavy Reno crime family. It's actually a more complex scheme where Murdoch had plans to use a hot shot in his entourage, eyeing the "throne", Eddie(Jerry Trimble), to sweep in to steal the money from the owner of an expensive stripper club, Doyle(Paul Dillon), who uses the joint as a front for the money laundering operation. Merle is sent there to "collect money owed", foiling Murdoch's plan to have him iced and left to take the fall for "attempting to steal the cash for himself." This doesn't bode well with Merle, to put it mildly, and he decides to take a dropped duffel bag of money with him as a "retirement fund." Having that money is bad enough, but his decision to seek revenge against Murdoch places his life in serious jeopardy. In a spur of the moment, with nothing to lose, Merle asks a waitress at Murdoch's bar, Jackie(Irina Björklund)to come away with him.

Like the action sequences, Eric delivers his part in style, blasting hoods and looking great doing it. Nice supporting turns by Keith David as Larry Cobb, a loan shark demanding money owed to him by Merle, and Geoffrey Lewis, as Merle's weapons supplier, Naylor. Davi has the snake-in-the-grass mobster role he performs with ease, eliciting a dangerous aura when he's in a scene. Irina Björklund is a nice surprise as this young woman with an unfulfilled life who decides to take a chance, hopping in Merle's car for a little excitement, the threat of peril always near. There's violence aplenty, with bullets ripping apart bodies, the use of blood bags in heavy supply. Bokeem Woodbine is "Chinatown" Pete, a compulsive gambler who never loses, yet Merle, an obvious failure in the past, finds luck and earns some cash which will be used properly, perhaps something of substance provided by a man who kills men for a living. The final bloodbath, guns a blazing, goes on forever and delivers in spades. Roberts looks quite cool in his shades and '69 Dodge Charger. The plot is really just an excuse for Roberts to rid the world of mobster scum. Again, to reiterate, these movies are bound to make many an eye role, but it's like smack to a junkie, when it comes to my love for them..I can't help but gravitate towards them.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant throwback style action movie!

10/10
Author: tcarvelo14 from United States
29 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a world of granite faced crusty badass mothers! These guys aren't pretty, in fact nobody in this movie is pretty. But they are tough, and what they lack in looks they more than make up for in ferocity of action.

Robert davi is fantastic as the pock marked faced lee j. cobb mob boss, he doesn't like Earl, Eric Roberts' character, but like all the people in this movie they don't give away what they're thinking or who they like, or even what side they're on, and when the chips are down and they're in trouble, they all offer to join the other team to save their bacon, anyway. The only character with any real shred of discernible decency at all is Eric Roberts, and he is at the losing end of a run of seriously bad luck - see the movie.

This film was constructed strangely, it was really slow, and it bugged me a bit, then I realized I really enjoyed the slow build up, because, brother let me tell you, when this movie goes bang, it takes large gruesome fragments of the san fernando valley with it. In glorious old school no CG style. The guns are real and sound real, the guts and splatter seems gruesomely real, too.

I don't normally write on these boards, most people with the time to write don't share my opinion anyway. But a complete miscreant made a comment about the guns, I had a sudden flash of wanting to use a 1897 shot gun to flatten his head, like Earl does in the movie. The firearms in this movie are cool, there are no modern guns at all, they are all beat up old collectors items (like the characters, i guess), the gun in the stripclub is a Browning 1919 BTW, wasn't in WW1 at all, and no bayonet on it, - but like I said, I'm as pathetic as him for getting annoyed about his review.

This film is uncompromising and fresh, the style is gritty and almost messy, Eric Roberts is stand alone, a fantastic actor, and Davi battles him good for the scenery chewing awards. Michael ironside gives a small speech on gangster etiquette at the beginning and I can now quote it verbatim, it's a small part but it stays with you!

earl's car deserved it's own credit in the titles, as it's a character unto itself.

The bottom line. As i watched this film, it felt interesting and new, but a little slow getting to it's point, then the shooting happened and a divine light came over me and it all made sense. I have watched it three more times and most assuredly get it now.

This is a blistering individual film, a head and shoulders above most of the steamy crXp in the theater. This film isn't about the plot, or the suspense or any of that stuff, it's about the characters and the world they live in and boy i enjoyed it.

Terry. C.

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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

The Butcher serves up some old school action.

8/10
Author: actionfilm-2 from United States
7 November 2009

Having followed director Jesse V. Johnson's career since 2002's "The Honorable" it's amazing how quickly he has evolved into a top notch action director in such a relatively short period of time. The man has toiled away and paid his dues so it's nice to see his skill is becoming recognized by his peers, allowing him to recruit some great talent. His 2009 film The Butcher slowly builds up momentum towards a brutal action packed finale. It does so skillfully and all the while remained interesting, unlike say for example "The Kingdom" starring Jaime Foxx which had dull dialog and uninteresting characters for three quarters of the film trusting that the final action packed reel would make up for it (as terrific as it was, it did not). The Butcher on the other hand, has barely a fraction of the budget and fires on all cylinders, well scripted, great leads in Eric Roberts and Robert Davi, excellent cast (including several of the director's "stock" actors such as Keith David, Bokeem Woodbine, and even a cameo by the Pitfighter himself Dominiquie Vandenberg), grade A staged action with superb stunt work, one of the best musical scores I've heard in some time, even a beautiful Dodge Charger and eclectic mix of firearms. Recommended!

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Cool, Gritty, Hardboiled Action Movie

9/10
Author: Bob_the_Hobo
30 October 2010

Eric Roberts is Hench, a henchman for a crime boss played by Robert Davi. After several loyal years to Davi's character, things go wrong when Hench gets ambushed during a shakedown. Unlike most movies, however, Hench ends up with some big money and a girl (the beautiful Irina Bjorklund), and plots his bullet-riddled revenge against Davi and the men who crossed him.

"The Butcher" was pretty sweet. You can tell that the films director, the up and coming Jesse V. Johnson, is experienced behind the camera. He knows what an audience (in this case mostly male) wants to see; Action. And that's what you get with The Butcher, Eric Roberts shooting his way out of a life he's tired of squandering. The action is terrific, the sets are cool, and the overall effect is a nicely done action piece.

Roberts does a great job, convincingly playing a cool, badass henchman. For once he doesn't overplay the role, instead he's cool as can be, even when the bullets fly. Irina Bjorklund is a great up and comer as well. Davi fills a great performance as the film's antagonist, a major crime boss who's about to go down. Keith David, Bokeem Woodbine, and a small appearance by Michael Ironside round out the cast, all in terrific performances.

Overall a very cool action movie.

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Kickass action movie that fizzles out

4/10
Author: thomas-glass from Australia
26 November 2009

Over-the-top violence with an incredulous plot line. Why the police never catch up to this guy just further eludes to the fairy-tale concept. Reminds me of a film noir minus the black and white. A lot of 1940's themes, cheesy lines and concepts set in the modern age. The movie is filled with violent bloodbaths mirroring that of a Steven Seagal fight scene. How this guy comes out on top is clearly some well executed choreography. It leaves the viewer in utter disbelief. It basically takes a turn for the worse and loses momentum like a lead balloon like the director gained a terrible drug addiction and just didn't care anymore. I almost feel like I've been violated. This one is probably a good film if you're on a psychedelic drug because it is all hype and little else.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Lazy crime drama.

6/10
Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
7 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jesse Johnson writes and directs THE BUTCHER, a crime drama starring Eric Roberts as Merle Hench nicknamed 'The Butcher' in his younger days as a promising prize fighter. For the last twenty years, he has been a mob enforcer. His boss(Robert Dayl)figures its about time for Merle to slow down a bit, maybe retire from the business. Merle is set up to take the fall for a botched heist worth millions to a rival mob boss. The Butcher's instincts tell him something is very wrong and instead of disappearing, he decides its time to fight back in return for being put in the trap.

Roberts seems to play it too cool. His character definitely has faith in himself. His love interest is played by the winsome Irina Bjorklund. In support are: Geoffrey Lewis, Paul Dillon, Jerry Trimble and Michael Ironside. Not a bad choice for a lazy day.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Eric Roberts and a bunch of character actors in a meaningless movie..

4/10
Author: merklekranz from United States
3 August 2013

"The Butcher" gets high marks for a high body count, in other words lots of bang bang, but little else. Eric Roberts is his usual dependable quirky self, and it's nice to see Robert Davi and Geoffrey Lewis getting some work. This is however a very shallow movie, with everything revolving around the ultra violent scenes. The whole film has almost zero meaning. Eric Roberts never changes his sport coat throughout the entire movie, and really the movie never changes either. It is nothing more than just another weak plotted shoot em up, with little or no character development. I say avoid unless you need to see a bunch of seldom used actors in a meaningless movie. - MERK

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Dark and gritty crime drama.

7/10
Author: pulp_fiction47 from Sweden
27 September 2010

I had no expectations for this movie. From the title I guessed it was a B-grade slasher flick of some kind.

What I got was something completely different.

The Butcher is a dark and gritty story about a man with nothing to lose, made in the style of the classic movies of the same kind in 70's.

Eric Roberts is good in the title role and most of the actors do their job quite well.

The action is raw and naked without being over the top and the overall feel and atmosphere is gritty and dirty.

I recommend this film for people who like gangster and action movies from the 70's.

7/10

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Heroic Bloodshed in the West

8/10
Author: adrenokrome from England
13 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This review contains spoilers!!!!!! It is so refreshing to have a solid shoot em up (the only other movie maker I've watched that loves guns as much as the director is John Woo) with heart and that's what makes the Butcher stand out from other flicks of this genre, it makes it so much more than just an action film. The script has such a good sense of humour, the players all come together, the banter between Eric Roberts, Keith David, Robert Davi and Geoffrey Lewis just oozed cool (ooze used in a positive sense – had that hard boiled noir feel) and there were those little touches like the money launderer putting the pin back in the grenade (commenting that he'd do it when his henchman offers), the horrific nature of fire fights (not everyone dies from a clean wound through the heart at high noon, the panic/ mania / fear, fingers get shot off, shotguns and heads equate to Bolognese). Yes there is a level of overkill, but then we deserve it, its the finale! I enjoyed the soundtrack, nice classical background fare providing that calm from the storm.

The bittersweet ending worked perfectly, so many films about betrayal and redemption can become utterly nihilistic, but the Butcher is not about that, it felt like it was more about learning from mistakes, keep living until you're done and try to do the decent thing in indecent circumstance. That's what heroes should be about, giving hope or making a difference. But then maybe I just love the old school heroic bloodshed movies. If you enjoyed Johnny To's Exiled, then check this out.

The director Jesse V Johnson's style is constantly evolving and he just keeps getting better.

Bring on Charlie Valentine Mr Johnson! TTFN

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Letdown

4/10
Author: P.S. Paaskynen from Tornio, Finland
18 October 2010

The Butcher has a decent cast and a promising story line, but fails to deliver due to a crummy script and too unrealistic action scenes.

The wording of the plot outline is indicative of the incoherent bombastic dialogue in this film, it makes practically all actors appear wooden and insincere.

A lot of the budget was thrown at bloody shootouts, but no attention was paid to making them even a little realistic. In most shootouts the henchmen just stand upright blazing away without seeking cover or even actually trying to hit the protagonist. In another shootout the bad guys insist on shooting above the furniture behind which the hero is hiding. Not even film goons are that stupid.

These flaws ruin what otherwise could have been a palatable action film.

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