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Savages
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Savages More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

extremely weak effort from a former master

5/10
Author: engineerdaniel from Stockholm
3 October 2012

There is no doubt that I judge this movie more harshly because it is made by a former great film maker. Had this been the first outing of some rookie, which the result feels like, then I would have conceded a higher score.

Apart from a shallow and pointless love triangle between the 3 lead characters there is nothing here that we haven't seen before in dozens of other shallow action thrillers. Unfortunately Stone has such a hard on(literally I'm guessing) for the "love story" that he gives it way to much screen time. This is the biggest reason why this mess is overly long and despite being about a drug war is slow and boring.

There are quite a few other things that the movie does wrong. One simple thing is that all the Mexican characters mix Spanish and English all the time even when talking to each other which I found really annoying. Annoying also sums up the voice over that is used throughout the film which completely took me out of story.

The two highlights are Benicio Del Toro who is obviously having a blast as a psychotic hit-man and steals every scene he is in. The other is a short but intense action sequence when the protagonist robs the cartel using a combination of US Army and guerrilla tactics.

The movie is not without entertainment value but is just so shallow and lazy in it's storytelling that I can't really recommend it.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

...and?

4/10
Author: blogurious from Netherlands
30 September 2012

It's always the same story: money for drugs and drugs for power. Lives are taken and many are confined to endless threatenings until no one is really safe.

"Savages" is a typical Stone movie. It has everything in it: romance, sex, violence, drugs and the endless fight between powerful men and their endless thirst for money and control. It is not a bad movie, but it takes its toll when you finally realize that you sitting through something you've seen before and any predictable ending could only struggle for something unexpected. Well, even that turn of events falls into the routine, confirming that anything that has to do with senseless violence can only wrap in a single way. Fun for some, tedious for others. I stay between neutral and disappointed. Take your pick. ** Director: Oliver Stone

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Great Film, Original

10/10
Author: Abdel Gulabkhan from United Kingdom
27 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a fantastic film.

The actors are all great the story is great and there is lots of action

basically two cool drug dealers with their girl get messed up with a big drug gang in a deal

The result their girl gets kidnapped so they have to do exactly what the dealer says

it gets gruesome, but then the stakes are raised, the bad dealer wants 13 million for the girl 'o', one of the two cool drug dealers is an experienced soldier who has friends they then do a raid to get some millions to raise money to get the girl free as they are trying to pay a ransome however they do over the dealer they have to pay, lol

It gets really interesting and is a very well directed movie.

John Travolta is great as dennis

Some good twists at the end make this film very enjoyable

And it was a happy ending after a roller coaster of a ride, very satisfying when you work it all out.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Nutshell Review: Savages

8/10
Author: DICK STEEL from Singapore
12 September 2012

Intense. That's about one word to sum up Oliver Stone's Savages, a tale dripping with sex, drugs and violence at a level that hasn't been seen since, probably, Natural Born Killers. Savages is perhaps also his most straight-forward film to date, that has his usual tirade against the establishment conspicuously absent, boasting an ensemble cast of fresh faces and veterans centered around drug cartels, mergers and acquisitions, and a warped yet strong, love story as its emotional centre.

Based upon the novel of the same name by Don Winslow, Savages aptly describes all the leading characters in this story, who are ruled by their primal instincts whether in their nature, or having the environment they're in forced unto them. The anti-heroes here are Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Johnson), two high school buddies whose bromance had led them to a path of joint riches, with Chon's tour of duty in Afghanistan resulted in his smuggling of A-grade cannabis seeds for cultivation, combined with Ben's botanical know how and business acumen. They become well known as the go to people for their boutique concoction to get high, and soon their reputation precedes them, with interest coming from Mexican cartels to want to acquire their business and transfer of knowledge. Which of course they get the big middle finger.

So in true gangster fashion, you hit them where it hurts most, by kidnapping their joint squeeze O (Blake Lively), and blackmailing them for their cooperation and part of the business. But nobody will take this lying down, especially when one has power, money and the law on your side, crookedly of course, and the entire narrative shifts into turbo gear, gripping from that point on in a cat and mouse game played by three sides, Chon and Ben, the Mexicans led by Elena (Salma Hayek) and her main enforcer Lado (Benicio Del Toro), and a manipulative DEA agent Dennis (John Travolta), where trust becomes that scarce commodity, and everyone looking into preserving their interests when events escalate into full scale violence, and tit for tat retaliation.

You'll be forced to believe and go along with the explicit menage a trois relationship between O, Chon and Ben, in what would be an extremely open relationship where the two men take turns to physically share O, as well as each other when it comes to the running of their business. This is somewhat important as it seals the deal, to make it somewhat believable that they would risk everything just to ensure her safety and return into their arms when she gets taken, setting into motion every act of violence that Chon is very capable of, and dragging the fairly violence reluctant Ben along for an eye for an eye action. If this aspect of the men's relationship, and that with O, fail to engage, then this story would fall apart because the narrative will be riddled with too many what ifs, since what Ben and Chon would do, would run contrary to logic.

And in some strange coincidence, this was almost a three on three, with the younger cast members showing off what they can do, and the veterans holding their own and responding back, despite having more limited screen time, but nonetheless making full use of what's given to stem their mark. Taylor Kitsch turns in a steady performance after the rather bland outings as John Carter, and in Battleship. Although again cast as muscle in the film, he's made to look good thanks to Aaron Johnson sharing some pitch perfect chemistry as the blood brother, while Blake Lively had the rather surprising task of holding the entire story together, being the chief narrator from beginning to end.

Not to be outdone, Salma Hayek, so rarely seen on screen these days, sizzle as the drug cartel queen whose black heart is obscured by her well maintained figure, vicious and cunning, though not without a weakness that you'd come to expect some exploitation later in the tale. John Travolta probably has the least screen time here as the corrupt cop, but one who's somewhat necessary if not to isolate the law in the film, since it would be highly unrealistic to do so. Equipped with a motor mouth and loyalties that swing as fast as the outcome of the drug war, his role as master manipulator against Benicio Del Toro's Lado was one of the many highlights in the film. If I were to judge which actor did and had the best role, it would be Del Toro hands down, as the Mexican enforcer who is none too bright, but compensating that for a brand of uncompromising violence, and a behaviour that disgusts.

Full of scenes involving drug abuse, sex and plenty of gore filled violence that went for realism rather than designed to be over the top, Savages is one of a kind film about drug dealers involved in a mergers and acquisitions gone terribly wrong. It zips through its more than 2 hour narrative with wit and pomp, with breathtaking visuals and an eclectic choice of music scattered throughout. If only it did not flinch in it finale, and decided upon a single ending, rather than a choose your own adventure style that hinted at a cop out to please those who read about its level of blood. Still, this is an Oliver Stone film so why not an ending that's bound to create some controversy and buzz, and for fans of crime capers, this is a definite recommendation.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Bought it because of Oliver Stone's name and disappointed

4/10
Author: davidshort10 from Tunis, Tunisia
10 September 2012

Let me first say that I bought a pirate copy of this...on a whim from a Nigerian hawking outside the restaurant I was in on Corfu, so sorry about that. In the end, I was glad it only cost me a couple of euros, otherwise I'd have felt robbed if I bought it on Amazon or went to see it at the movies.

All I can say about it was it was OK for a slow evening watching it in a hotel room. I thought it would be good because it was Oliver Stone. It was just a succession of episodes from one to the other. I couldn't identify with any of the characters, and Travolta....well, he just wasn't trying at all.

I didn't care about the kidnapped girl and like other reviewers, I have absolutely no idea why this menage a trois was supposed to be so solid that the two guys - who are very different so how does the girl love them both? - risk everything, including their lives, for her.

Forget every other criticism, the central aspect of the menage just does not add up so the entire plot is built on nothing. Two extremely rich young guys living in southern California who don't have to work share one woman? I don't think so.

And here's a slight spoiler. At the end, the narrator, O, says people may be wondering where they are 'In Africa, or Kenya, or....' Well, young miss, Kenya is an African country. I know Americans are insular, and understandably so, but how could no one on the production team pick up on this clunker?

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Benicio is a classic Savage, Stone finally stones you again as the blood pours...

Author: SausagePourVous from Sweden
13 August 2012

Are critics sheep? Afraid to praise certain films colleagues don't and miss out on being part of their respective critic associations who hand out awards that predict the Oscars? Does Haywire have 80% at Rotten tomatoes and Savages 53%? Have they become so stiff and mature and numb that Stone feels like a youngster in his prime on Ritalin in comparison? Or does he feel like that regardless? I'll just say yes to all the above.

This is on the whole,regardless of genre,one of Stones finest. It is. The 2 hrs flew by and the film was one big rush,it felt new though we know this material isn't groundbreaking.

Those saying the Mexicans are made out to look like the more respectable Savages though they rape,torture and murder because they ask God for forgiveness afterwords and the Americans are predicted as shallow,have no honor must've been TOO affected by Stones obvious admiration/fascination for communism and the Latino world instead of watching the screen. Misguiding,manipulative and seems to come from those locked into a thinking of Stone he himself isn't. ONE Mexican does the Christ cross after he killed someone. But it is his first and last murder and he is not cut out for the drug trade-The ill-fated kid"is too sensitive."

The three young "leads" have taken turns taking crap for their performances. And though maybe a bald Garrett Hedlund a'la death sentence had been to prefer,Kitsch finally works. He might not have a lot to work with and can't always convince us of his badassery but mostly,he does. Lively gives us one of the silliest lines in cinematic history....yes,the one involving wargasms but as a young blonde California chick who takes pride in and gives herself an identity by having two men(in her mind,one could never hold her down. A defense-mechanism)works fine cause she looks like a spoiled,empty,unsmart,pretty slut with the heart in the right place.

Johnson,who I've only seen in Kick-ass does best,though. I expected his characters arc and journey to be a bit slower,gradually sinking down to a level of brutality this pacifist never thought he would. It wasn't and it mostly,sort of comes down to one scene where he slowly walks towards a tortured man with a burning thingy. Still,it's a powerful moment and Johnson is believable and likable all the way.

His Ben is pragmatic,logical,a Buddhist and naive,Chon violent,cynical and hardened. The best buddies complete each other and get each other when business is good. When things go sour,their different mentalities might get them stuck in the middle.

However,I agree,the opponents are more compelling. Hayeks queenpin is unusually nuanced. A very cruel and heartless woman but half the times,it's a mask she wears in a mans world and the self-loathing and maternal instincts make her very human,her best work...ever. Travolta is a sleazy man of the law who plays for both teams,which means his own and doesn't disappoint.

Bechir gets respect for going from a Oscarnom last year to Alex Reyes,Elenas attorney,both as a classy guy with a menace hidden under cool and when he sheds exactly all vanity in a disturbing and too realistic scene.

But who walks away with the picture in a film filled with a lot of talent? Again? Oh yeah. Benecio Del Torro. Benicio Toro? Ah,come on! If you don't know how to spell this cult-actors name with his resume,you do not know cinema. He has gotten to portray some classic characters,Jackie Boy,Fenster and Dr.Gonzo were all in different ways dangerous and/or demented....but they didn't get to put the hurt on people like this. Here he gets to fully embrace the stereotype of a cartel enforcer and turn it up to 11,clearly enjoying himself as he just creeps under Lados skin. A man who is so depraved,vile,deceptive, unpredictable and psychotic,he is constantly amusing and scary. Intentional and unintentional humor of the very darkest sort comes thanks to Anton Chigurhs cousin. That he's a familyman makes the monster human. A scene involving spit and him licking his fingers is as nasty as it is wonderful.

Wonderful cause Oliver Stone has been let of the leash,is also once again as unhinged as Lado and just doesn't give a shi- if this isn't up your alley. It's everything Tony Scotts Domino wished it was.

The dialog is mostly great(Del Toro vs Travolta in the kitchen,magic.),not every criminal tale with wit and cool lines is wannabe-Tarantino...though it can be lovely,gory,unforgiving pulp. It has a few parts where money is moved around,accounts hacked that slow

the story down. The story is not so much"undeniably messy"as it is somewhat rushed. Taking its time to get things rolling,it could easily have been 20 minutes longer,Lively could've sacrificed herself for film,showed some ass(wanna slut it up,be a slut all the way,please)and we got less of her voice-over. Though several parts are fitting to the narrative,some are just too corny.

The ending didn't screw things up as I thought,you can pick one or you can switch endings,if something on screen might go on in a characters head,the truth might be your decision.

One of the most enjoyable films of 2012 so far and no,I didn't cry or bite my nails,I was just very impressed by a veteran of cinematic brutality of all sorts showing he still can entertain us with bullets while having fun doing it. And I didn't check my watch one time. Awesome nonsense sprinkled with some moral,geopolitical and capitalistic themes. Dan Mindels cinematography and Benicios mustache-twirling should get Oscarnoms...but won't(Though Streep can WIN an Oscar for a film with 53%.Hmmm...). A dark crime saga you should go see. It's not J.F.K...but certainly not another World Trade collapse.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Could have been great. Too bad about the ending.

2/10
Author: arbino-man from Hayward, CA
29 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Can two minutes literally drop a movie from a 9 rating to a 2 rating? In this case yes.

The movie has a lot going for it. Oliver Stone directing based on Don Winslows book. You got Benicio del Toro in one of his most entertaining performances. Travolta in his best role in years. Even Blake Lively who has gotten a bad rap is actually pretty good in this film. I actually quite enjoyed the film in nearly every aspect.

Then the final two minutes happened. SPOILERS ahead. You think the movie is about to end at the most logical point, yet it doesn't, but actually rewinds into a happy dappy ending.

I'm not sure what happened. It feels like Universal told Oliver Stone to make sure that the film ends on a happy note in order for the audience to leave on a happy note. It just doesn't work. It's like Stone threw out all logic and all narrative for the sake of a trick ending. I'm sure all the grandma's in the audiences will be happy, but this is a brutal film. It's not supposed to have an ending where everyone holds hands and walks into the sunset. Heroes and villains alike.

The ending is a mess beyond logical proportions. It's a heap and a half and literally ruins what could have been a great film. In all honesty, that makes me a bit sad to see a film that could have garnered some cult recognition, ultimately being regulated for the $1 dollar bin at your local Wal-Mart.

I'm not sure in Winslow is upset over this, but he should be. It's a slap to the face to all the fans of his book, and to the fans of cinema. Shame on you Stone. Shame on you.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Oliver Stone delivers

10/10
Author: jeffreydelmore from United States
17 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Always interested in whatever Oliver Stone does, always different, always risk taking. It may seem difficult to the common person to understand the dealings of the drug world, personally, I'm not sure how 'pot' is grown and distributed throughout the world, but that's not important to me when watching this movie. It's a movie, and in this, boundaries are set, and I believe that in this movie world, the story fits well. Of course, if someone has a problem with a woman being with two different men or two guys selling drugs to make a living, then they may reject the movie for personal or moral reasons. However, when I view a movie, I try to enter its world of probability or belief. With that said, I truly enjoyed the movie. It did its job in laying the tracks and the players that were there for the ride. Thought Travolta was spot on with his performance along with Benecio Del Toro, along with the rest of the cast. There was no weak link as far as I could see. Had to laugh at the alternate ending sequence, truly caught me off guard. As always, Oliver Stone delivers.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Typical Oliver Stone!

6/10
Author: mm-39 from Winnipeg
15 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Typical Oliver Stone! Oliver Stone's movies seem to be about the dark side of life. Savages is a dark side of life movie. The movies thesis is conveyed by two pot growing protagonist who morally argue with each other. One has a Nietzsche view of life while the other has Libertarian view of life. Stone's movie is a portrayal of California 1960's idealism of free love, the 2 guys have the same girl friend, and drugs use. The Libertarian believes he is helping the world with his drugs, and is on a mission to help the third world with the money he makes from the drug sales. The dark side of the movie is when the Mexican drug cartel comes into the protagonists world. The movie is vile and a bit hard to stomach. Stone directs a liberal world view with the nasty aftertaste of how vile reality is. I give Savages a six out of ten.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

wanna get sick? watch this movie

1/10
Author: aprunic from Serbia
29 January 2013

This is my first review of any movie ever, and I have only three notes:

- Americans shouldn't fight the war with Arabs. Instead, they should start methodically eliminating all the Mexicans from this planet, because they seem to be the lowest form of life on Earth - according to Oliver Stone and the atrocities he shows in this movie

- it seems to me that Oliver Stone went from movie director to a sick psycho with a camera

- thank you for making me NOT watch any of your future and past movies Oliver Stone, I hope that some Mexican cartel does to you what you showed so vividly...the sooner the better

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