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|Index||259 reviews in total|
really too bad. i hate previews at the theater, but when stone's name
flashed across the screen i thought "now this is gonna be a GOOD movie
that i won't be able to wait to see". then i saw who was in it and
thought "OK, are these guys gonna have the acting talent necessary to
support stone's style?, but OK". then i saw it. and i'm glad i waited
to see it.
a let-down. where to begin? i dunno, so i won't. cause i'm not a very talented writer/reviewer. being a 28 yr old that tries to watch every movie that's 7-stars-and-up on IMDb does not qualify me to be a reviewer, but i guess i can say i've seen a variety of movies. if you've seen any oliver stone flick, this will almost certainly be a letdown. his style is in there, flashy, intense, but the actors aren't believable enough to provide the foundation necessary for his style. good luck watching, and please, comments are welcome.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Oliver Stone certainly can direct and this is a good thriller with
great action scenes until undermined by cliché and serious script
flaws. The performances are good, and the characters mostly believable.
Benecio del Toro's standout sadist threatens to descend into melodrama,
but family scenes with this very flawed father give his character
depth. For the first half the movie is tight, convincing and ratchets
up the tension beautifully but the rambling second half descends into
confusion and silliness. It seems the studio process ran away with
BIG SPOILER HERE, POST VIEWING ANALYSIS: The flaws in the script really begin with the opening line from the Blake Lively (Ophelia or O) narrator: "Just because I'm telling you this story doesn't mean I'm alive at the end of it". Well, it kinda does mean you're alive, doesn't it, unless we are not going to see the ending. OK, I'm nit-picking, but for me the big problem really starts with the Salma Hayek character - the ruthless but impossibly beautiful and sexy drug lord. Yeah, sure, who came up that box office formula? When she develops a motherly relationship with O, after having her abducted and tortured, you really know it's time to suspend all disbelief. Then somehow Taylor Kitsch and a few old navy seal buddies manage to track down and eliminate an army of drug gangsters (where the whole US government has failed, but OK that's standard action fare), then a computer hacker weaves clichéd magic and unbelievably frames a mobster, Benecio del Toro shoots a young guy for no reason than to prove he's mean (yeah, we already knew that), and O's touching marijuana withdrawal scene with her new abductor mom is just ludicrous. The final lunacy comes at the end - both of them which smacks of running alternative finales by a test audience but not being able to decide which to chose.
UNSPOILED SUMMARY: Ultimately this is a clichéd thriller, which it does well if you're a fan of the genre and can overlook the story problems, but I expected something special from Oliver Stone.
This movie can be summed up in one word: tensionless. Which is not a
word that should come to mind in an action-thriller from the director
of JFK and Platoon. The source of the movie's many problems is, as it
is with most Hollywood blockbusters, the script. The screenwriters,
famous for very little outside of Armageddon (1998) and Shaft (2000),
have cobbled together a poorly paced and often downright shallow script
which sacrifices character development and consistency for length and
the opportunity for Stone to film some explosions and one too many sex
scenes with Blake Lively. The audience is never given a protagonist to
take the journey with, stuck between Lively who spends the first twenty
minutes of the movie explaining who everybody is, and her two
boyfriends. Kitsch, of Friday Night Lights fame, looks lost on the big
screen and gives an underwhelming performance as the ex-soldier who is
haunted by his two tours abroad. Johnson is even sorrier, receiving
more screen time than Kitsch and failing completely to capture the free
spirited stoner that the role called for. The audience is lead to
believe that Ophelia is drawn to them because of their juxtaposition,
loving Ben for his tenderness and Chon for his brutality. But the two
leading men are indistinguishable halfway through the movie and its
apparent that neither of them have the gravitas to carry a movie.
Throughout the movie's 130 minute runtime we see both characters make
decisions completely out of character and the flat performances rob
moments of significant character formation and development of any
Its lucky that Benicio del Toro is as classy an actor as he is, because Savages struggles when he isn't on screen. He is calmly menacing when the heavy handed script allows him to be and Stone lets him off he leash a little. Lado is very at home in the brutality of the cartel and del Toro puts the other actors around him to shame, save perhaps Travolta who brightens up the screen in his few appearances. Hayek gives an admirable but completely forgettable performance as Elena, the head of the cartel, but it's tough to blame her for that considering how poorly the scriptwriters handle the character. What had the potential to be a deeply traumatised woman clinging to all that remained of her family while trying to hold together a drug empire has been diluted down to a few scenes in silky nighties in what is probably the movie's biggest let down.
But the movie is not all bad. Stone and cinematographer Dan Mindel (Spy Game, MI:3 and Star Trek) have put together a luxuriously shot movie, appropriately vibrant and easy to watch. Mindel even slips in a lens flare in true Star Trek tradition. Stone's direction is classy and indulgent, but not to the point of being obtuse. The shooting really is one of this movie's strengths.
It is ultimately wasted however, on a story that had a lot of potential. The final act renders the middle of the overly-long movie essentially irrelevant as the players come together for the inevitable confrontation. Flat characters acting completely unreasonably interspersed with often garish violence leaves a bad taste in the mouth at the end. We're left with Lively's voice-over telling us that the movie ends exactly how we expected it to end in the first place. The use of this technique jut serves as a jarring reminder that the screenwriters have been too lazy to show instead of tell us the story we just watched, to let he characters evolve holistically in front of us and that the actors didn't have the depth to play these one-dimensional figures we never got the chance to care about.
Two young and successful pot-growers (Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch) living in Laguna Beach share the same girlfriend, nicknamed "O" (Blake Lively), and go along without any jealousies. When she'll be kidnapped by the competitors of the boys' business, lead by a powerful Mexican woman (Salma Hayek), they'll do their best to get her back, even if it takes drastic measures. Oliver Stone doesn't abandon his graceful touch and provides a bright, colorful, and almost hallucinatory aesthetic to the film, contrasting the brutal and graphic violence and the gripping thrills in the story. The moral of the whole movie is obvious: we're all horrible savages deep within, no matter how good we think we are. The only major disappointment lies in the cheap dialogue and some unconvincing acting here and there, but for the rest of it, it's a good, fun time.
Savages (2012) There is no same ole same ole about this story 3/4 stars
After reading a lot of reviews slagging director Oliver Stone's latest effort as being unlike his usual work..another wrote that he would stick to his normal style of directing that he is accustomed and known for... I personally have watched all of Stone's films and just wonder what in the hell these people mean by normal style? As far as i can remember each and everyone of Stone's flicks were in a style of their own and not one of them share the same flare...so? Needless to say i thought he did a fantastic job on 'Savages' Actually the only thing i wasn't to keen on was the triangular love affair between the 3 main characters and how the male bff's shared her (in one segment at the same time) sorry that's just a whiff of my old fashionism escaping tis all...Great cast as per usual let's see we got Travolta, Kitsch, Hayek, Del Toro to name a few all exceeding their paid duties as actors. Storyline was great and we even get two versions of the ending (one imaginary one reality) without having to open up the extras of the DVD.
Once again, to myself, we have Oliver Stone's way of storytelling gritty, intelligent, and often brutal but me myself. that's the way i like them to be!
First of all, don't expect any deeper meaning in the film! Just relax and enjoy the watching. It's a kind of a film you should choose for fun. Since it lasts for more than 2 hours, it is a huge plus how the director (Oliver Stone) keeps the viewers' attention in the plot. In addition to that, all the scenes are visually attractive and rather dynamic. There are few weak points in the plot, but they were probably designed so that viewers would sympathize with the characters more easily, which is especially evident with Ben and his volunteer work in the third-world countries. How else would anyone support a drug dealer in the film? In my opinion, the weakest link of "Savages" is Blake Lively, whose appearance seems slightly pale, but maybe it's because she was surrounded by actors who played really excellent and memorable roles, and here I'm talking about Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro in the first place, although other actors were good, too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
But you have to give it to the critics, they must've felt like I did
before this film; I really wanna like this movie. And then the
narration kicks in and after the first minute, you know you're gonna be
so disappointed and maybe even hate this film. There hasn't been a
single tolerable female narration since Kill Bill, and before that,
well, maybe T2 was reasonable. Narration hardly ever belongs, apart
from a Scorsese picture.
Let alone the two male leads. Rarely has so much being carried so boldly and badly with so little charisma. This two guys should never share a screen on a this scale movie, I'd maybe give them a scene in a WW2- feature series next time and still be disappointed. And then the Blake Lively-vivid character "O". O'boy, someone should really wargasm her all over. The character doesn't seem to belong anywhere in this movie, although she plays a significant part in the plot. But I can't help myself thinking that without this character, this movie could've been so much better.
Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro give out the best performances of the movie by far, but that ain't gonna come as a surprise to anyone. Del Toro gets actually very scary and creepy in some scenes, and Hayek makes the best out of a pretty vague female drug cartel-queen -character. And is smoking hot as always.
Im not saying that the three leads, Blake Lively, Aaron Taylor-Johnson or Taylor Kitsch can't act. They're just sooo miscast on this one, their mutual lack of chemistry on-screen is just unbearable, and they make you wanna wish that Del Toro's Lado will whip their eyeballs out on the end. I ain't gonna spoil, but i was disappointed yet again when that didn't happen.
Some stupid and annoying characters, plus the awful narrating place this movie on a solid 6 on my scale. 6.0 it is.
When I first saw the trailer for this film, I wasn't really drawn in as
much as most people were. What captured my attention was Oliver Stone,
and he was the fellow responsible for my viewing.
Blake Lively, not so lively, I think she was trying to portray a dead fish in this film, at least that's what I got out of her acting skills (could easily replace the T with an H in acting and make it aching). She's really hot though, so I guess that would make her an attractive dead fish. The rest of the cast did a pretty solid job though. Benicio Del Toro was fantastic. Travolta was top notch as usual. The movie had a nice touch of violence, drama and some comedy. In my opinion, a lot of parts were pretty slow and boring. So, if you were to replace all (or most of) the drama/slow parts (and Blake Lively) with comedy (a more talented actress, Natalie Portman?!), and make the whole film into a satire/dark action comedy it would have been one of the greatest movies ever made. Hands down. Damn.
7 out of 10, lost 3 stars in the lack of comedy, Blake Lively, and the slow parts. In conclusion, it's worth a watch, especially if you have a movie voucher or some sort of discount.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just saw this movie. It has such bad reviews...had low expectations and
was pleasantly surprised.
The violence was quite graphic...no problems with that. Matter of fact...the violence was actually not over the top but quite realistic.
I had more a problem with how they were so positive about the soft drugs and the trade. No violence, helping the sick people. The heroes using it just before going into action. Seems to much like a left-wing propaganda film to legalize soft drugs. It was extremely funny that it was left to Elena to warn her about her drug use and how it impacts her ability to concentrate. From personal experience I know how detrimental soft drugs is and when you use it a lot also what a huge impact it will have on your body, mind and personality.
What i missed was the background stories. I really liked Salma HAyek. but that was the problem to me...she was too likable and even sympathetic. People are afraid of her and her organization...but it didn't really show with her. To me it seemed a woman who made the best of a tragic situation in a violent business. But there must be a good reason why she is so feared. Right now it seemed that her henchman are the scary bad asses...and IMO it only show how much of a bad ass she is if these guys are afraid of her. So what i wanted to see..was her evil side.
Also quite interesting how the bad guys were all family persons with kids, families etc.
And I wonder how many more movies will come in with the Mexican cartels as the bad guys. Second movie after end of watch with them as the new flavor of the month bad guys.
Anyway for the rest...the movie was quite good. i still feel it could last longer like other Stone projects. Giving the movie more depth on the background stories.
The story it self was good and quite cool with plenty of action. The high tech way of doing business of the good guys and also using ex army veterans as the muscle. After the last decade of continuous warfare its for the first time since Vietnam that there are a lot of veterans in the US community. A lot of US movies are using this as a main plot or as a tie in. Interesting to me.
'Savages', a high-octane, drug-fuelled revenge story, is another
high-calibre addition to Oliver Stone's remarkable repertoire. It has
the verve dare I say it of a younger filmmaker, but the hallmarks
are undoubtedly those of a veteran.
Taylor Kitsch ('John Carter'), who needs this role more than it needs him, and 'Nowhere Boy's' Aaron Johnson play marijuana makers Chon and Ben. They share a girlfriend, O (Blake Lively), who defends the love triangle by saying the same thing the great singer Morrissey said, 'You love one person, so why can't you love two?'.
Ex-soldier Chon is the manlier of the two and gives O 'wargasms'. Ben is the proverbial lover. Money isn't his sole motivation. Practising Buddhism and playing with the disadvantaged kids some of his drug money goes to is more his cup of ganja.
Ben's botany degree assists him to grow unique specimens, which fetch high prices, and it's not long before their operation goes national. But their rise does not go unnoticed. Salma Hayek plays Elena, an outrageously sexy martinet, who controls a Mexican drug cartel looking to consolidate its future by monopolising the market. That means usurping 'indie' businesses like Chon and Ben's, by any means necessary.
It's fairly obvious that O will be Elena's ransom; less obvious is how she is rescued by her quixotic lovers. Oliver Stone, who co-wrote the screenplay with Don Winslow, upon whose eponymous 2010 book the film is based, throws in just enough asides and misdirection to keep us engaged.
Elena's number one henchman is the mullet-topped Lado (Benicio Del Toro), who is so despicable he licks O's saliva when she spits on him. Lado is one of those hard to forget baddies. He issues threats passive-aggressively through his teeth in a superb Mexican accent, and likes to record his rapes. Man, he's creepy. John Travolta completely assumes his pivotal role as Dennis, the bent Federal Agent, who would sell his mother without batting an eyelid.
What took the glint off an otherwise rip-roaring film was the disappointing double-ending. Ironically, the dream ending would have been fine because films about drugs shouldn't have happy endings.
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