Porter is bad, but his neighbours are worse. Street-wise and tough, an ex-marine, he is betrayed by a one-time partner, and shot in the back by his junkie wife. He survives and returns, looking to recover his share from the robbery of an Asian crime gang. The money has passed into the hands of "the Outfit", a slick gangster organisation that runs the city. He has to make his way through a world populated by heroin dealers, prostitutes, sado-masochists, gunmen and crooked cops, a place where torture is a way of life. His only friend is a former employer, a prostitute, and her loyalty is in question, given she now works for the Outfit. He makes good early progress, but then falls into the hands of Fairfax, the crime boss.Written by
An early teaser strung together the film's funnier scenes, and both audiences and the studio responded favorably. He protested and was told by the marketing department that "what it is is one thing, and selling it is another thing." The studio clearly wished the movie "was more like our trailer, and I didn't know it at first but it became this struggle for what the heart of the movie was about." Re-shoots began leaning heavily toward the teaser's tone, and the writing was on the wall. See more »
Rosie's apartment door has 404 on it, visible when she greets Porter the first time and when Resnick ambushes her. Resnick sees a bloody mark on the call button for 403. See more »
GSW: that's what the hospitals call it: gunshot wound. Doctor has to report it to the police. That makes it hard for guys in my line to get what I call, quality health care.
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Director Brian Helgeland's cut was significantly changed by producer/star Mel Gibson before release and was 15 minutes shorter than the final version. Here are some of the differences to Gibson's highly publicized re-shoot version of the film that was released into the theaters.
No voiceover of Porter
The opening shot of Porter in the doctor's office is not in Helgeland's cut. The film begins with Porter on the bridge returning to the city. Brian's cut doesn't suggest the double-cross until we see the flashback.
A more harsh exchange when Porter visits Rosie (Maria Bello) for the first time.
Odds and ends with Val Resnick (Gregg Henry) throughout the film. Includes a curbside threat to the David Paymer character and a funny scene calling Pearl (Lucy Liu) on the phone.
A small exchange between Porter and the Asian gang.
When Val breaks in and beats up Rosie, Porter the dog gets shots in the head and remains dead. In Mel's cut, the dog lives.
The two versions of the film begin to change greatly when Porter confronts Fairfax (James Coburn). The dialog is different and the outcome of the scene is changed.
Bronson the Outfit boss is played by Sally Kellerman rather than Kris Kristoffersen. She's never seen in the film, instead interacting with Porter over speakerphones. When Porter begins to kill her associates, the boss almost immediately gives in to Porter's demands. In Mel's cut, the boss was a bigger character and provided a bigger climax. All the boss's son and torture scenes are not in Brian's cut of the movie.
The climax of the film takes place on a mass transit platform. Porter arranges to pick up his cut of the money, but the boss dispatches hit men to stop him. He gets the money, but is shot in the chest. Stumbling out of the station, he shoots a couple of men in a car. Porter begins to die. Rosie finds him and slaps him back to life. Porter suggests a doctor he knows can patch him up. The final shot is of the two driving out of town.
I got caught up in this movie one night just flipping channels and next thing I know, I've watched the whole movie. Mel Gibson plays a thug, Porter, who is out for some payback against a friend who screwed him over in a, lets just say, financial matter. While instant payback would have made for a very short movie, there are some nice twists and turns that make for an entertaining movie. Although a thug and most likely a menace to any society, you start to sympathize with Porter throughout the movie. As deadpan as Porter is, he becomes a somewhat likable thug. By the end of the movie, you're on his side and hoping he can get himself out of some tricky situations. Or could it just be the end of the line for him?
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