Control (2004) Poster


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Great Performances, But there are weak points.
tarbosh2200019 February 2005
It looks Like "Control" fell through the cracks for a theatrical release. Just because it's Direct To Video, doesn't mean it's awful. It is not. All the performances are first-rate especially Ray Liotta. He does a great job as the reformed killer. Willem Dafoe is his usual good self as the helpful doctor. The weakest point in the movie is the ending. It feels rushed and pat. Besides that, this is a pretty clever movie that is worth checking out."Control" has a near-perfect balance of action,suspense and emotion. Just pretend you didn't see the ending. The scene before that is powerful if a little clichéd.

Hopefully Ray Liotta can be nominated for a DVD Exclusive (An award show that showcases the best in direct to video) Award when the time comes.

For more insanity, please visit:
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wasted story
prohibited-name-141826 December 2004
i've been waiting for this movie for almost one and a half years now. as an admirer of ray liotta i have been searching the web weekly for new information, and when i saw the possibility to purchase it by a Scandinavian DVD online store, i almost freaked out.

so i finally saw it yesterday evening. luckily i saw the weak action filled trailer recently and did not expect too much. i truly enjoyed the first 30 minutes, following the convicts (liotta) fake death and his introduction to the doctors medical experience program. the beginning creates a very creepy atmosphere, liotta and dafoe play awesome as they always do (despite the boring lighting there are some great close ups of them) and the quick story telling made me hope for a decent thriller like narc or phoenix.

but then the movie turns simply into the wrong direction. the ultimate killer gets unleashed to society after changing to a normal person suddenly. the story focuses on his regrets of his past and his love to theresa (rodriguez), giving the horrible b-movie cast more screen time.

the ending is simply not satisfying and leaves you begging for more. what could have been a deeply psychological thriller which deals about the unique of a mans mind or the value of human live turns out to a everyday thriller.

because of my hero and the terrific beginning i gave it a 7 out of 10, which is more than it deserves
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Unusual Movie Deserves More Credit
snorton-622 October 2006
I just saw this film in a cinema in Bahrain, I think 2 years after it came out, or rather didn't come out in cinemas, as it went straight to DVD. When I think of all the rubbish that gets into the cinema, that's just insulting.

I saw it 'cos of Defoe and Liotta, 2 of the greatest actors in cinema today. Yes, the film had some cheesy moments, but this is still a good film. The acting from Defoe and Liotta is generally excellent, and this is a good story, though it could have done with some better editing. Stephen Rea does a good job as Dafoe's boss, and whilst the ending is a bit predictable, it's a reasonable way to spend 2 hours or so.

The alternative is watching something by Adam Sandler or Ben Stiller, none of which goes straight to video, and shows why the movie business is sometimes the craziest business in the world.

Watch 2 great actors doing what they do best and enjoy that movies like this still get made. It's really quite good.
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Promising Story, Horrible Conclusion
claudio_carvalho20 August 2005
The sociopath killer Lee Ray Oliver (Ray Liotta) is sentenced to death by lethal injection. Dr. Michael Copeland (Willem Dafoe) offers him the chance to be a test subject of an experimental drug intended to reduce the aggressive behavior of the patient. Lee accepts the terms and after a successful treatment in the laboratory, gets a new identity and chance in life. However, his past haunts him.

"Control" is a very promising thriller with a great beginning, which hooks the attention of the viewer. The attractive cast has names such as Willem Dafoe, Ray Liotta, Michelle Rodriguez, Stephen Rea and Polly Walker. I really expected an excellent film, after watching the first part of this film, but unfortunately, after the last plot point, the screenplay has a horrible conclusion., spoiling what could have been a great movie. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Control"
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Liotta is quite good... but the film can't offer any more.
shanfloyd13 July 2006
OK, the plot is nothing special. Willem Dafoe is a doctor who directs a research on a drug that has potentials to remove criminal tendencies of a man. Ray Liotta is a serial murderer, a death row convict who becomes his test subject. Dafoe places Liotta in controlled social environment after first part of the experiment looked promising. But things went wrong.

Liotta is the major reason to watch this film. Really it's a treat every time to watch him in the role of a criminal. But who cares? He's still very much underrated by the industry. Anyways, Dafoe and Michelle Rodriguez are also fine. But the actors are not helped much by the screenplay. It is weak, often predictable, sometimes filled with unnecessary subplots and the ending is really unsatisfactory. I expected more surprises in the story... but it turned out to be just as I foresaw after half-an-hour of the film.
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Well produced mediocrity.
tiny_tangerine26 February 2005
I have always been a fan of Ray Liota and Willem Dafoe, so I checked out this movie. It sounded like it had potential to be a good film, both plot and acting wise. It does have potential, but I felt some points in the movie dragged and weakened. Liota's character, although well acted, seemed to have too drastic a turn around in too short a time to really show the process and allow the viewer to relate. There is nothing terribly wrong with this film, other than it's ending which was entirely expected, felt rushed, clichéd, and under-developed. If you have nothing better to do on a Wednesday night, then I recommend this movie, but if you have something better to do with your two hours, don't waste your time.
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Great action from the producers of Narc, Ray Liotta again great performance!
innovator10 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It's like when you follow the music of your favorite artist. On the DVD cover was printed 'from the directors of Narc' and it was also with Ray Liotta. So I followed my previous director.

I saw Narc,and it was great! This convinced me to hire this DVD,after wandering for an hour in the DVD-shop. Nowadays it's hard to find great movies (new) cause there's so much junk on the market.

Ray Liotta is a tough criminal who gets the death penalty. He he gets injections,but awakes in the mortuarium. When everyone is gone,they tell him that he can chose to participate an experiment. They give him pills to control his anger and some metal around his leg,so that they can trace him with GPS. He gets in secret a new life,searches for a job and starts a new life. Then suddenly he gets nightmares about his past kills. He meets the nephew of a guy that he shot in the head and got into coma. This nephew captures him and tries to kill him but he escapes. There is also a team of researches that wants to capture him. Willem Dafoe plays also a great role.

Very good movie for todays standard,one for your collection like Narc! Deserves at least 7.5 or 8. I noticed that the best movies have around 6/10 on IMDb. I think because there are too much kids that vote for movies with big budgets and big publicity campains,like war of the worlds,...
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So-so escapism for the action/drama junkie
=G=22 March 2005
"Control" is a mediocre drama which tells of a violent killer (Liotta) who undergoes a mock execution only to find himself as a test subject for a new drug developed for controlling violent behavior. Liotta is at the vortex of this film with Dafoe as his experiment supervisor, Walker as Dafoe's ex, Robertson as Dafoe's post-doc helper/lover, Rodriguez as Liotta's girlfriend, and Rea in a bit part as the director of the pharmaceutical company. As the film unfolds, it dips and delves into a little action, a tiny bit of romance, a lot of less than subtle drama, and some side plots which never go anywhere. Overall, "Control" is average escapist entertainment for the action/drama junkie which should play best with Liotta and Dafoe fans. (B-)
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Could have been something...
K_Todorov1 January 2007
"Control" had a good premise and idea. With Ray Liota playing a character sentenced to death but who is given a chance for freedom if he participates in an experiment to suppress his violent urges. What could have been an interesting character study about redemption ultimately became a sub-par often melodramatic movie that failed to deliver even the slightest bit of inside on the subject.

Liota stars as Lee Ray Oliver a murderer sentenced to death but given a second chance if he participates in a chemical behavioral modification program run by Dr. Michael Copeland (played by William Defoe). The movie's first problem becomes quite apparent after a short while, Liota's character isn't portrayed as a truly evil person, yes he is shown killing people but only members of the mafia, in fact his only civilian victim doesn't even die. Which from the viewer's perspective partly ruins the motivation for the treatment Lee Ray is undertaking.

The movie's plot feels confusing not because its hard to understand but because it doesn't know what direction to take. There are actually several sub-plots in it all of which after the final scene feel unfinished, and while some could have played a role in showing Liota's character new found compassion, rather ineffectively if I might add, there is the one dealing with Defoe's character that doesn't have any sort of impact on the central plot. The movie's direction does nothing to cloud the badly written plot, with a heavy dose of mediocrity it feels like you're watching a made for TV production.

The only reason this is worth watching is the acting. With some decent to good performances by Liota, Defoe and Rodriguez (who plays Lee Ray's girlfriend in one of the sub-plots). Regrettably the supporting cast fails to keep on their level, making a lot of the supporting characters annoying or just simply badly acted.

In the end "Control" fails to impress or use it's interesting ala "Clockwork Orange" premise. Giving us a final product whose melodramatic ending doesn't succeed in achieving any sort of emotional response from the viewer.
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Control :
Khorne_5 May 2005
Genre: Psychological thriller

The Tale: criminal comes back to live after execution, surrounded by some unknown people who offer him a second change....

Why do you want to see this move ? because its a nice movie with a good storyline and excellent performance of Mr. Ray Liotta did also played in Turbulence /Copland / etc.).The story Keeps you in suspense, but can be sometimes a little bit confusing for the average or young viewer.

Conclussion: I liked the movie , but it wont be in my top10 list, although I will definitely recommend the movie to all my friends and people who like thrillers with a twist
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Why did I just watch that?
PortugalOle713 October 2006
One wonders why the likes of Ray Liotta, Willem Dafoe, and Stephen Rea would sign on to do a film like this. I seriously hope they actually read the horrible story before agreeing to it.

A complete garbage story about a convict saved from execution by being a guinea pig for a doctor. The deal includes trying out a medication that will erase the harmful tendencies of the convicts past, trying to make him a better person for society.

I gave it a chance but after about 30 minutes, I realized this story was formed around a single idea and the rest was just filled in along the way. That characters are underdeveloped and you never really get a liking for any of them. Then before you know it, its over, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The film feels like a movie of the week based on a cheap page turning novel you pick up before you get on an airplane.

Unfortunately Liotta and Dafoe don't help. They over-act, probably to compensate for the poor plot.

Skip this one if you can. Waste of time.
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CONTROL (caution -- some wispy spoilers)
cobysdad20 January 2014
I agree with most other reviewers that this is a movie that was on the verge of profound resonance until its hackneyed end, and I don't understand why the obvious intelligence of the people involved degenerated into irrelevant clichés. Maybe there were financial constraints that kept them from developing the ironies the screenplay presented. But I wish they'd let the Liotta character live in the end, severely wounded perhaps but much much wiser about who he'd been and what he'd become. (His placebo pills reminded me of Dumbo's magic feather). The clumsy end cut off any hope of a satisfying catharsis -- not a happy ending maybe but one that left him to conjure with the implications of his emotional evolution.
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Unrealistic and illogical
labolabo18 February 2011
Main character is a aggressive, remorseless psychopath. Doctors give him pills in order to become less aggressive and to be able to feel remorse. At first, the pills have no effect. Then, they suddenly do seem to have an effect, and they let him out in the society, in his own hometown. He continue to behave like a nice guy. The movie is unrealistic in so many ways. At the beginning of the movie, why does the doctor visit him unprotected, making it easy (and almost predictable) for the psychopath to attack him? Why would they want to let a guy who have committed several killings and serious crimes be released? Why put him in his hometown where people could recognize him? And so on... There are lots of other things too that are quite annoying to watch. As a defense, I should add that dangerous people actually ARE let out in the society, often by gullible people who think they are cured, or woo think they just deserve to be free. But a multiple killer..? Some may think the story in itself - about modifying people's characteristics - is fascinating. I think so too - that's why I watched the movie. But the story could have been made far better and far less shallow.
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Won't even realize it has you.
rarematters24 February 2005
A killer on death row, his faked death and you are the subject. Presented by brilliant analogy, society's bad habits when it relates to the criminal justice system. Forget the victim? Have mercy on the criminal? Set the criminal free while one vic remains a veggie with a bullet in the brain and the others are pushing daisies? You are trapped from start to finish. We are given all the facts and even made to watch a slow motion scene three times - where the killer shoots an innocent guy in the head - but we quickly forgive all this and sympathize with the criminal. You'll root for the "bad guy", despise the relatives of the victim, loath the guys who want revenge on him for killing their friends, and hope he eludes the team of researchers who decide he really should be dead, after all. You are IN Control.
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Comes close to greatness, IMO
The_Core7 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Control" is one of the most satisfying movies about the human spirit that I've seen in years. I usually don't like Ray Liotta much, but even he was excellent in this film. The movie gets off to a bit of a slow start, but after "phase 2" trials start, things pick up. There's a bit of predictability at work, but for the most part I was in the dark about what would happen, and the twist at the end caught me *totally* off guard.

As someone else mentioned, the film is almost ruined by a 20-second sequence following the point where it *should have* ended. However, I have to overlook this sequence in favor of the rest of the movie. It moved me. Almost to tears. 8/10.
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Predictable, assembly line movie
toskippy4 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The premise of this movie is a decent one, if done before in other ways. There are reasons why some movies go straight-to-video; the utter predictability, laughably clichéd scenes and obvious subplots intended to lengthen the film are these reasons. Ray Liotta's intensity at the beginning should have been capitalized upon, but he loses it halfway through. The movie has all the earmarks of being rewritten as it was being shot.

Some observations: What purpose does it serve to have TWO people gunning for the Ray Liotta character? The corrupt warden and "Russian mafia" hit-man contribute nothing to the storyline and could easily have been left out. The avenging brother would have been enough, and was not fleshed out. Liotta showing remorse, trying to befriend and help the man he shot and crippled, beginning to live a normal life, only to have the angry brother whose life was ruined bent on revenge.... now that could have been a good movie.

Do we really need to know the Dafoe character's personal life? What does this contribute? The way he tells the story of his murdered son should be shown to acting students as an example of bad "mailing it in" acting. "He looked up at me and said, I'll be alright Dad... and then he died." This only exists to prop up the cheesy end scene, which should never have been included. A better ending would be to have Liotta die, and that's it! Gee, the undercover guys driving around in a large dark colored van. How original. And the pursuers all driving identical black sedans. Not original at all... and the "blood dripping on the shoulder" flashback scene was shown far too often. Gotta justify that CGI expenditure, I suppose.

Why were the drugs taken as pills? Why not injections to make SURE? Why was the doctor allowed to go into Liotta's cell where he could be easily attacked? How is it that Defoe was beaten by Liotta the first time, but the second time Dafoe suddenly gets fighting skills and beats Liotta to a pulp?

Ah, there is plenty more to pick at, but to save time, stay away from this one.
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Good story but progression could have been faster
bengringo19 August 2006
I got to say i really enjoyed this movie. I've always been a sucker for a good drama with a twist. I felt though that they could have picked up the pace a little bit though. From the beginning to end it was a good one though. I thought that Willem Dafoe and Ray Liotta did a really good job. They really did well on the screen together. Michelle Rodriguez also played her role very well given the screen time she had. Though i felt they could have showed a little more of relationship between Lee (Ray Liotta) and Teresa (Michelle Rodriguez).

Overall this is a great movie to watch if your into drama's with a surprise ending.
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Split quality
TomWaist25 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Thought the story of Tim Hunter's Controle, about the reprogramming of a psychopath, is intriguing, this film displays one of the major Hollywood cliché problems. What I am referring to is the fact that the first part of Controle is, without any doubt, the best part. This half is well-written, sometimes visually attractive (f.i. the flashback of Liotta's character shooting an innocent man, followed by a cgi blood drop that falls down on his shoulder) and by far the best acted 'phase' of the movie. This is also the slowest part of the film. The characters and their problems are set and displayed.

I was impressed with Liotta's depiction of murderer Lee Ray, who changes, through the experimental drug Anagress, from a killer to a nice, relaxed and friendly person.

In a way Dafoe is a miscast. Every scene seems like he's not acting his best and in the most fascinating scenes Liotta simply 'outguns' Dafoe's performance. He makes it look too much like a routine job. I remember he did the same thing in Paul Auster's Lulu on the Bridge (1998). Though he was splendid in Cronenberg's eXistenZ (1999).

And now for the second part... The second half of Controle is what I referred to before as a Hollywood problem. The first half can be called a 'psychological drama/thriller', the second part though tries to become a fast-paced 'action flick'. Which could have been great, if the first part hadn't been so fascinating. It almost seems as though Hunter suddenly screams in the middle: "Ok, guys, let's take it to the bank!"

The idea of a medicine that would alter our behaviour isn't that refreshing, but the way it is acted and depicted in the first part of the movie is fine. I must admit that I was moved by Liotta apologizing to his victim. That is the power of Liotta's acting in Controle: he actually succeeds in making you feel sorry for him, while you feel detested by the psycho he in the first few scenes.

One thing the movie touches nicely, though very Hollywood-esquire, is the philosophy of 'second chance'. Lee Ray is handed a second chance after his death sentence and faked lethal injection. While dieing near the end of the film the flashbacks of his life are different from the ones he experiences in the beginning of the film, during the lethal injection. He dies with guilt, but also with a few (new) good memories of things he DID handle right.

Overall Controle is (because of the lacking second part) a mediocre movie. A typical dime-store Hollywood production. But I cannot admit there are some very interesting ideas and performances in it.
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Not for the mainstream masses
gill_welch18 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This film certainly wasn't going to top the charts.

Not enough sex, violence, special fx etc for that. Nor does it try to be "amazing" by having a far too intricate storyline. Its simple. There are no drastic twists in the storyline. But perhaps its a little too subtle for the masses.

But it does make you think. Lee Ray has had the traumatic/violent childhood and is by all means, a sociopath. Emotionally, he feels nothing. He is described as an "animal" and the doctor considers him the perfect test patient. The trial begins and eventually, he becomes a reformed man. Not only about his present actions (ie not reacting aggressively) but also about his past.

Perhaps the problem is that viewers do not understand what a sociopath is and how they differ from your run of the mill murderer. The film does not actually explain it - perhaps trying not to patronise its audience or perhaps just bad writing/directing.

Without giving too much away, its basically a film about "nature vs nurture" or in other words......"can a leopard ever change his spots?".
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A better life through pharmaceuticals ..............
merklekranz6 January 2010
In the film "Control" a doctor, (Willem Dafoe), is attempting to transform a violent criminal (Ray Liotta), into an acceptable citizen, through the use of an experimental drug. The story immediately involves suspending disbelief, as the convict, is spared death by lethal injection, to be released into the care of a pharmaceutical company for closely monitored experimentation. The fact that the pharma. company has their own goon squad to shadow the subject's every move, is a real stretch. Unlikely coincidences abound, like a pair of bolt cutters that just happen to be in the right place at the right time. The plot bumps along with few surprises to a rather rushed conclusion. The main interest in "Control" is seeing the two fine actors, Ray Liotta, and Willem Dafoe, on the screen together for the first time, and that is precisely why it is watchable. - MERK
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the movie went nowhere
tywaters300026 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I agree with most of the comments on this movie, the opening scene was definitely the best part of the movie. After that movie goes downhill. The real problem with this movie is that it's not believable. I'll explain. *********Spoilers ahead**********spoilers ahead************* First of all, why would a state government allow a death row homicidal murderer to participate in this experiment? There are plenty of anger management patients out there that have not killed several people. Second, why would they trust the patient to take the pills himself? Especially a convicted murderer. Wouldn't they make sure the medicine was injected into the patient or something? And third, why would they put the reformed murderer back on the streets IN OR NEAR THE TOWN HE COMMITTED HIS CRIMES IN!? That doesn't make any sense. Wouldn't they treat it similar to a witness protection program and put the guy somewhere in the middle of nowhere Kansas? I see why this movie never made it to the screens. The critics would have destroyed it and it probably would have made under $1,000
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WATCH IT!!! Make your own mind up!!!
madandbad28 December 2007
make that 7.5... frustrating that half points aren't allowed!!!

CONTROL was on the budget section in my rental store. I didn't expect much! I was very pleasantly surprised.

Sure, I have seen better thrillers... ... but I have seen much worse! Ray Liotta gives his best performance to date, IMHO, and Willem Dafoe is also excellent and believable as his character.

I am not going to talk much about the film, save to say... WATCH IT... and make your own mind up! Me?

I thought the ending was absolutely fine, and fitting for what preceded! I also have my wife's permission to say so... and she is never wrong!!!
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To See the Bad Man, Behind Blue Eyes
wes-connors11 September 2011
Severely abused and traumatized as a child, psychopathic Ray Liotta (as Lee Ray Oliver) is executed as an adult, by lethal injection… no, wait… Mr. Liotta wakes up in the care of likewise rough-looking but kindly doctor Willem Dafoe (as Michael Copeland). The hardened criminal is invited to participate in a medical research project; by taking a behavior modifying drug, Liotta will suppress violent tendencies and hopefully bring out remorse. Liotta answers, "I like drugs," but is disappointed when Mr. Dafoe tells him the drug has no narcotic effect. He beats up everybody and tries to escape, but Liotta takes his pills...

Liotta proves to be a tough nut to crack, and some feel he is "faking it," but he is eventually deemed ready for the next phase of the experiment. Liotta is given an ankle bracelet, a monitored apartment, and some money to get started. So, what's going on with this dude… the best thing is, you can't really be sure. While Liotta and director Tim Hunter keep it tense and unpredictable, we meet the outside forces. His biggest threat appears to be Tim DeKay (as William "Bill" Caputo), brother of brain-damaged Liotta victim Mark Pickard (as Gary Caputo). Mr. DeKay seems badly in need of Dafoe's behavior modification pills...

Liotta's hair and make-up does become distracting, especially during the second half, because this type of character probably wouldn't wear such obvious eyeliner without some explanation. Maybe he was in an '80s hair band... The "life flashes before your eyes" moment and blood drop forming a "chip on your shoulder" are well done. Characterizations are strong...

From the beginning, we are given layers of nicely developed and carefully revealed facts about the co-starring characters played by Liotta and Dafoe. After Liotta becomes "Joe Monroe", he meets love interest Michelle Rodriguez (as Teresa), who becomes a believable attraction due to her own "starting over" story. It's also interesting to compare their "crime and punishment" state of affairs with DeKay's vengeful low-life. The four are intertwined nicely by writers Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin with director Tim Hunter. Excellent job, but the final sequences include a too definitive shock for one of the characters.

******* Control (12/7/04) Tim Hunter ~ Ray Liotta, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Rodriguez, Tim DeKay
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Terrible terrible movie
clarencewhirley26 March 2005
I am an IMDb regular but have only just joined now. I joined because after having seen this movie I was anxious to see just how much other people hated it too, alas, they seem to like it. The film is awful. It has the premise for a good movie otherwise I wouldn't have got it out from the store. The plot and characters hold water, there are more holes than a siv, and the film has a lot less use. I tried to like it, and the actors aren't bad at all, it even has Michelle Rodriguez, which could make any film watchable - on looks alone. But the film is terrible, please don't get it out, I won't go into any plot points as I have a gripe with far too many of them - I'll sum it up by telling you that it's the kind of film where things are literally spelt out to you, nothing is left to interpretation. Maybe if it was you may have managed to miss some of the awfulness of this movie. Be warned.
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Some "cures" are worse than the problems
mwhalan111 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A generally exciting film with a very good cast and a plausible concept. Ray Liotta is a vicious criminal without redeeming characteristics. In lieu of execution, he is offered an opportunity to become involved in a test program for a drug which, it is hoped, will master the evil tendencies of the "test subjects". While the characters are fairly well fleshed-out and the acting is of, at least, an expected level of a few good actors (Ray Liotta, Stephen Rae and a fine Willem Dafoe), most of the rest of the actors are pedestrian in their parts.

The action sequences are good, with a couple of exceptional ones. The love stories, although not germane to the main action, are not so intrusive as to off-set the film. The film is virtually done in by a very unsatisfactory, almost "added on" ending. Would have been better without the last scene.
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