Years ago, Jack Carter left his Seattle home to become a Las Vegas mob casino financial enforcer. He returns for the funeral of his brother Richard "Richie" after a car crash during a storm, atypical of the careful house-father. Talking to the widow, daughter Doreen, and enigmatic Geraldine, Jack suspects it was murder. Cliff Brumby, whose club Richie ran, is financially linked to porn and prostitution baron Cyrus Paice, who claims to be just a front-man for ITC tycoon Jeremy Kinnear. Someone hired goon Thorpey to make Jack return to Las Vegas. Jack's partner Con McCarty is restless, apparently about their boss Les Fletcher, whose wife had an affair with Jack. Someone breaks into Richie's home, looking for a crucial CD.Written by
By far, the most entertaining moment on the DVD of "Get Carter" is the hilariously outdated 1971 theatrical preview for the original version of the film, which starred Michael Caine. (Caine does appear in this Stallone update.) Sadly, this update stinks. Sylvester Stallone's Jack Carter, a Las Vegas button man, skips town without his boss's permission and heads up to his old stomping grounds in Seattle to investigate the mysterious death of his brother, whom he hasn't seen in five years. That's the pitch.
The action is surprisingly restrained and impressionistic. For example, when one of the minor bad guys gets killed, we see the result of a headlong plunge but not the actual slaying. But this kind of restraint doesn't dovetail with the promise of the previews: an ass-kicking Stallone in a Rat Pack suit. The director tries to gloss over the many plot holes with slick, faux-Fincher cuts and zooms, but he's just covering.
Here's the tragedy. Action-thrillers don't require good acting, but they sure are enhanced by it. Most of the actors in "Get Carter" have the ability to far outshine this genre, much the way the actors in 1998's "Ronin" did-within the context of the plot, the cast of "Ronin" delivered their lines with utter conviction.
Not necessarily so here. Those stars in "Get Carter" who have real talent weren't used enough, and those who don't have the strongest dramatic chops were given boatloads of screen time. Sly is wooden at times (as per usual), but has some fine moments.
Miranda Richardson, as Carter's widowed sister-in-law, is solid, but underutilized. Mickey Rourke, as an internet porn purveyor, has obviously been working out some more, but it's still apparent that he peaked in "Diner." The big surprise was just how much actual characterization they allowed Rachael Leigh Cook--as Carter's bereaved niece--to show off. Any one of these actors, given enough on-screen opportunity, might have saved "Get Carter" from its ridiculous plot holes and incongruities. But they didn't. Do yourself a favor: avoid this film.
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