Savages (2012) Poster

(2012)

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5/10
Should have been a LOT better.
tpaladino8 July 2012
This was not a great movie. It could have been a great movie, but it was let down in two major ways.

First off, two of the three lead characters are awful. Blake Lively makes for good eye candy, but she just isn't a good actress. She's not bad in smaller supporting roles (like her part in The Town), but she simply cannot carry a lead. Unfortunately the entire film basically revolves around her (and she narrates), so her shortcomings are brought front and center. Every time her voice-over came on, I cringed. It really was not a good choice.

Taylor Kitsch is no better. Again... good eye candy, poor acting. Very poor acting. He just has no soul, and brings absolutely nothing to his character whatsoever. He should be in a brainless Fast & Furious movie playing opposite Vin Diesel, not an Oliver Stone drama.

The second major failure of this film is even more serious, and that is the story structure. We are never really given the opportunity to understand why the three lead characters (Chon, Ben and Ophelia) have such strong feelings for each other. We're told that they do, but never given any real reason to believe it. This is extremely important, because literally the entire premise of the film hangs on their relationship. If you're going to build a dramatic story around an unorthodox three- way relationship, you had better explain in more than one quick scene exactly how this relationship happened, otherwise the audience won't know why they should care about the characters. Especially when the actors portraying these characters aren't very good to begin with.

I know that I kept asking myself why these two guys share a girl, how they have absolutely zero jealousy, why they never once thought of double-crossing each other, and why either of them care so deeply for her -- to the point of being willing to risk their lives and commit horrible atrocities to save her. Where did all this love and loyalty come from? It was never adequately explained, and the entire movie suffers tremendously for it.

On a slightly more positive note, the veteran actors did a fine job. Benicio Del Toro was wonderful as a psychotic cartel underboss, John Travolta chewed the scenery to bits, and Salma Hayek was entirely believable in her role as well. Unfortunately, their competence only served to underscore the incompetence of the younger leads. It's telling that the best scene in the entire film was between Del Toro and Travolta, with none of the three lead actors anywhere to be found, and hinted at the promise this movie squandered.

A lot of reviews took issue with the violence portrayed in the film, but I didn't have a problem with that. You really can't make a movie about Mexican drug cartels without violence, so I didn't feel it was gratuitous. Unfortunately, however, it also didn't make the movie any more believable from a plot perspective.

Overall, I just don't think this was a very good film. I don't think that Stone felt entirely comfortable with what he was doing here, trying at times to be Tarantino but failing miserably. And likewise, I think that if this film had been in the hands of Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez, it likely would have come out much better, perhaps even great.
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3/10
Please, just make the voice-over stop
mattbaxter7225 September 2012
There are many bad things about this movie, but let's list the good things first. The plot makes sense, kind of. It's nicely shot, and the beach looked pretty. And... I guess John Travolta looked as though he was having fun? Which is more than I could say for the poor buggers who had to sit through this mess.

Your two leads, ladies and gentlemen, are Aaron Johnson, last seen being upstaged by a preteen girl, and Taylor Kitsch, who Hollywood keeps casting as the lead in blockbusters which then tank spectacularly at the box office. You know why that is, Hollywood? It's because Taylor Kitsch has no charisma. None. The furniture was more interesting than he was, and had more emotional range. Even he's better than Johnson, a black hole of tedium from which nothing interesting can escape. These are two of the blandest leads I've ever seen, and I've seen movies that starred rappers.

But dear God in heaven, they are much, much better than Blake Lively. I haven't seen much else of her acting, so I can only think she can do much better than this. But here she's playing a 30-year-old ingénue, a woman-child who knows Shakespeare but doesn't know what 'savages' means. She's meant to be sexy and alluring, but she comes across as so boundlessly stupid that no man could seriously find her attractive. I don't think that's her fault, but the no-nudity clause that made the sex scenes in this movie so absurd? Yeah, that was her fault.

Even that isn't the worst. There's still... that voice-over. The narration that infests this whole movie, but especially the early scenes, is some of the worst writing I've ever heard. 'I had orgasms, he had wargasms' is a phrase that will live with me until I die. And now, even if you haven't seen the movie, it'll haunt your nightmares, too. You're welcome.
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7/10
Good Action Movie
nemisis_028 December 2013
Reading the reviews i'm not sure why people were expecting this movie to be like an Oscar winner or something? Going in I wasn't expecting it to be an Oscar winner, if you were expecting this movie to be about a Mexican cartel and not have violence in it then you know zero about Mexican cartels and that is an understatement.

Funny thing was i was expecting this movie not to portray Mexican cartels in their real light, but after watching the movie, yup they are as ruthless as the movie portrays and glad Hollywood portrayed them like that instead of sugar coating the threat they pose to the world.

If you are looking for a violent action movie based on an American drug ring vs a Mexican cartel well you probably have one of the better movies when it comes to that. If you are looking for gone with the wind, sound of the music or something like that best look else where. Me, I highly enjoyed the movie, it delivered better than i thought it was going to deliver. People will complain about the violence but again this is about a Mexican cartel, not the boy scouts. There is nothing i hate more than a movie that isn't true to it's roots, but this movie stays true to what Mexican cartels are all about when it comes to business.
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1/10
Truly awful...Oliver Stone what happened to you?
Movie Aficionado7 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I went to see 'Savages' today with a friend. The movie was truly a pathetic waste of celluloid and talent. The script seems to have been written with a crayon.

Benicio del Toro and Selma Hayek are capable of much better than this dreck. Blake Lively was horribly weak and miscast as a poor little rich girl who is in love with two professional pot growers in California. The two guys live and share her with each other, all like a big happy family. Ridiculous.

The only thing even remotely reminiscent of Oliver Stone's finer works is the realistic graphic violence (Platoon, Natural Born Killers). Unfortunately the violence is ham- handed and boring.

SPOILER:

At the very beginning of the movie the two protagonist pot-growing-buddies receive a video message warning from the South American cartel headed by Selma Hayek's character. The video is so shocking, so disturbingly violent, that how the main characters react to it is completely non-believable. Attached to the video is a place and time the cartel wants to meet the expert growing duo the next day to force them into a contract with the cartel.---Any normal person receiving this video warning would disappear/pack up and flea immediately. But no, instead the guys chill out, smoke pot, and have sex until the next day as if their lives aren't in mortal danger...this is just one of the major weaknesses in the plot.

Emile Hirsch is completely underused as a bicycling expert computer hacker who is capable of hacking into the credit card companies and international bank accounts of the cartel; he would have been better cast as one of the two main male characters.

John Travolta phones in a lackluster performance as a crooked DEA agent who just happens to have a wife dying from cancer. Whenever he brings her up (we never see her) he is always lighthearted and smiling; he might as well be discussing his golf handicap...

The ending seems to have been decided "by committee." Seems like the studio couldn't figure out how the movie should end so they give us two endings; the film literally rewinds and shows the second, alternate ending....just pathetically bad. There were audible groans from the audience...

The movie is 2 hours 15 minutes; could have been trimmed by a half hour or more...

The plot is a train wreck; Oliver Stone said in a recent interview about the film that the book this is based on had 120 different scenes; he trimmed that down to 30. He said he was more inspired by rather than actually trying for a faithful adaption. This is a real tragedy and the movie suffers for it. Mr. Stone basically was too lazy to get it right; this movie could have been a classic like the Pacino/De Niro masterpiece, Heat. This is too bad as the source book material for 'Savages' is highly regarded.

Truly a bad, poorly written movie. Stupid and logic-defying.

I was excited to see this; I was hoping for a Pulp Fiction/Natural Born Killers vibe (that's what the preview falsely promises).

This is Oliver Stone's low point; he can only go up from here. Please don't waste your time, energy, or money on this bloated, overlong, waste of talent, piece of crap. A true raspberry. Insulting to fans that have come to expect realistic and compelling films from Mr. Stone.

There are lapses in logic within this film that are worse than cheap 'Friday the 13th' films; things that no rational human being who values their safety/life would ever do. And this is inexcusable as this movie portends to be a serious and realistic tale. 'Lethal Weapon' is more plausible. So is 'The Dark Knight.'

'Savages' plays like a cheap, second-tier comic book of a film. Putrid and sad.

On a positive note, my friend and I had a pretty entertaining discussion on the way home from the theater discussing the colossal absurdity of what we had just sat through...I wish I could say 'this movie was so bad it's good.' Unfortunately it's just plain BAD. Very disappointing.
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1/10
Absolutely awful.
tubamonkey0910 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Oliver Stone has a reputation of excellent film making (Natural Born Killers, Platoon), but what I saw in the movie theater last night was easily one of the worst films I've ever seen in my entire life.

First the characters are two dimensional. The two male leads are introduced as basically "the tough guy" and the "sensitive guy". Their performances were mediocre at best. Taylor Klitsch was dry and brought nothing special to the role. The female lead "O" (Blake Lively) seems to have nothing particularly interesting about her, and her voice narrating makes the sound of a root canal suddenly more appetizing. Stone wants the audience to view these three characters as heroes, but I don't see it. The characters don't do anything significant they just grow weed, smoke weed, and have sex. Stone tries to get the audience on our side when he presents the benefits of marijuana but instead it comes across as 20-30 minutes of "legalize" propaganda followed by 10 minutes of renewable energy information.

Speaking of propaganda, the political and social themes in this movie are about as subtle as prison rape. It seems that instead of making a film about a group of people who live an alternative lifestyle, Stone has created a film about alternative lifestyles featuring some people. Blake Lively narrates a sort of montage of the marijuana industry, where all the minor characters are young, wealthy, and attractive, not to mention that marijuana is portrayed as a lifestyle, dare I say religion. Was this movie supposed to be realistic at some point? I don't know if I should have been eating popcorn in the theater or weaving a hemp bracelet.

AHHH but the trailer has guns! It features violence! Well... sort of.... just when you think the movie will redeem itself with some guns blazing action it simply doesn't deliver on this either. There are a few explosions that any high-schooler with an M-80 could pull off in their garage, some CGI blood, and the only good violent scene is so late in the movie that the audience doesn't react.

I don't understand where these millions of dollars went because they weren't in this movie, either Oliver Stone is a terrible film maker or an awesome crook. Terrible acting, terrible action, terrible script, absolutely TERRIBLE. Save yourself the aggravation and skip this movie. I haven't been this upset with cinema since Bill Murray did Garfield. I feel so strongly about this film that I will never spend my money on another Oliver Stone movie ever again.
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4/10
One Quarter Stone, Three Quarters Bullshit
Cinnyaste6 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
In Mr. Stone's "Platoon," brutal, direct Barnes and mellow, intelligent Elias battle for Charlie Sheen's mortal soul. Whether familiar or pet, Mr. Stone plumbs the theme again in "Savages." Unfortunately "Savages" glides into a land far, far away from "Platoon."

The predominate feeling from "Savages" is it was about a Hollywood deal. Mr. Stone not only phoned in a (co-telephoned) script but the direction as well. His renowned editorial and textural format tricks fail to enhance the storytelling as in "Natural Born Killers." Here, they are plugged in to assuage any fears "Savages" might not be a Stone film. Casting adds to the feel-of-the-deal. Bluntly, Ms. Lively would never exit a paper bag were she to depend upon her acting to do so. Kitsch and Johnson are directly behind her. Mr. Travolta chews the scenery like he's in a high school production supporting role. Ms Hayek, at least, turns in a good performance.

Given the 24 Hour news cycle's coverage of the Mexican-American drug war, it's difficult to dramatize an inherently insane subject. Little effort is needed to find chilling video of men hanging upside down like a side of beef being castrated with a dull knife. The corruption greasing the drug distribution wheels as they travel to El Norte is also common knowledge. That leaves the need for a personal story about these purveyors, or at least a new slant (save a female Cartel leader). All that is missing in the pulpy and broad "Savages."

On the Pulp: early on it's clear the typically amazing Mr. Del Toro's performance is derived from Silent's mustachioed villains. Later he actually twirls his mustache. At this point there was an expectation, "Nyah-Ha-Ha," would pass his lips.

The "Savages" cast and Mr. Stone recently sat for an interview on PBS' "Charlie Rose." The usually garrulous Mr Stone said nary a word about this story, which, in case you're interested, goes something like this: a female-led Cartel, losing money, sets out to swallow smaller players, including one growing 'Primo'. The business is high-tech and run by two high school buddies: a tough physically and emotionally scarred Ex-SEAL (Barnes) who served in the Middle East and a granola-eating college boy (Dual Major - Botany and Business) who wants to save the world (Elias). The woman they share is kidnapped when Butch and Sundance (Ms. Lively actually refers to them as such, paints herself as Etta Place and doesn't want to be around when they die) insult the Cartel Queen. Ms. Lively differentiates them as "one likes to f@&k, the other makes love." And the Ex-SEAL has 'wargasms'????

Guess the story's path and how many bodies fall.

In a punk opening scene, Ms. Lively's voice-over drives a flashback and leaves open her fate by story's end. This sets up an insulting, gimmicky twist ending that's also punk and not to be spoiled. Throw your own Milk Duds at the screen.

Among too few, "Savages" saving grace is the Political subtext the left-leaning, axe-grinding Mr. Stone loves to incorporate. Anywhere along in "Savages" merely substitute the words Afghanistan or Iraq for Mexico. Here, however, Mr. Stone's political restraint works against "Savages."

The other small savior of this disappointing film is the universally held belief others are savages. A brutal killer, a Mexican, believes the Americans are savages because they share a woman. The Americans believe the Mexicans are savages because they decapitate people just because it's Tuesday. A closer look at the great cultural differences separated by a common border is also AWOL.

Action fans may get their fix from "Savages." There is sick brutality, double-dealing and lots of bang bang. There just isn't enough glue in between to hold it together or give it some meaning. And that's the fault of the usually spot-on-relevant Mr. Stone.

Don't spend your bread. This dog will be on Netflix by September.
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4/10
The only good thing about this movie is Benicio's acting...
saratr13 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It's hard to find a decent movie lately. Was another disappointment for me, no surprise there.Don't be fooled by the cast. Sex, violent, a little action is enough(!) for some apparently (judging by the high votes). Not for me though...

The outcome of the movie in summary; -You can have a good life with drug business (with that great education background), get away with it and have a happy ending! -Sharing is caring even If its your -so much in love- girlfriend! -You can have two guys and a sweet life, if you are a sexy pretty dumb blonde with issues; you don't even have to work! -Running a cartel is easier than dealing with your daughter!

You may also categorize this movie in 'fiction' genre, with that very happy threesome. Seriously? A girl and 2 guys. Does it exist?? My vote is Benicio only (ok, a little for Travolta and Hayek). Have to admit I also enjoyed gorgeous Kitsch's topless scenes.
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6/10
A well made film that shoots itself in the foot
We Watched A Movie29 August 2012
Best friends Chon (Kitsch) and Ben (Johnson) are genius pot dealers in Laguna. One of them is more of a "save the universe" type guy and holds a degree in Business and Botany. Yes, pot heads in High Schools everywhere just rejoiced "It's a real thing!" and the other one, suffering from anger issues stemming from tours in Iraq takes care of the "beating the crap out of people when necessary" aspect. Oh yeah, they also share a girlfriend. (Awkward right?), her name is O (Lively). No really it is I swear. Anyways, moving on because we have to, these two guys have made some of the best pot known to man and have made millions from it. (Still can't find their own girlfriend though, just saying). Everything is going great as they take turns with their shared girlfriend (still weird) in their huge beach house when the Mexican drug cartel decides they want to be partners. This actually stands for "We own you now and you know you like it." Ben and Chon don't really feel like being De-decapitated so they decide to make a go of living in a jungle somewhere until Elena (Hayeck) the ruthless lady leader of the cartel has O kidnapped.

So are you over the fact that our two heroes share a girl yet? OK good, because I'm not either. This is one of those films that can only be enjoyed if you can let go of a few things. The whole film is narrated by O in her stoned and lazy version of her "OMG you guys I am so high right now" voice. She is a lot like her role in The Town only without the Boston accent. She is really annoying as a character and it's kind of hard to feel bad for her much less root for her. This is one of the things you have to let go of to enjoy the film. Ben and Chon worked well because they are the exact opposite to one another yet somehow have the respect for each-other to get along despite their constant different point of views. Kill everybody or run away. Ben was almost as annoying as O because he was always whining and psycho-analyzing everything. I found Chon to be my favorite of the three because he seemed to be the only one who just wanted to actually get things done and blow up some stuff while everyone else talked and talked some more.

Villains make films though and despite the awkwardness and UN-likability of some of the lead roles the bad guys were sinister, relentless and kind of funny at times. One interaction between Elena's ruthless right hand man Lado (Del Toro) and out for himself FBI agent Dennis (Travolta) in particular was tense and humorous at the same time. Travolta was surprisingly great in this film as he looked like his old self and I was pleased to see he had a larger part in the film than anticipated. Elena had a well written back story as well as the bad guys, while certainly crude enough to hate were interesting enough to steal the flick.

Savages UN-intentionally gives us no-one to root for and may even get on your nerves for a moment or two with its anything goes mentality. There is no doubt however, that it has some great action sequences, well written dialog (minus a few horrendous lines by O's character), strong acting by a strong cast and is an all-around well-made film all the way up until it's absolutely dreadful crash and burn of an ending. I won't give anything away here but let's just say this ending is a problem. It felt as though the Director had a decent ending for a good film but wanted some attention so badly that he was willing to ruin his own movie to do so. You don't always have to be edgy and cute. Sometimes playing things straight up is what's best.
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1/10
This movie is Dogsh!t...
jcdugger20 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Oliver Stone...you sir, have lost your touch. After making such brilliant films as JFK, Platoon and Natural Born Killers, you have lowered yourself to the likes of Wall Street 2 and this heaping pile of dog manure, Savages.

The star of the movie, Blake Lively, essentially plays a spoiled whore. Hard to root for that type of person. She is paired up with 2 rich entrepreneurs. Now, I know there are different relationships on this planet, but I find it a bit hard to believe that 2 young, attractive, in-shape rich guys would end up sharing a girlfriend like that...it just didn't feel possible. Atrocious writing. Then, in a line that rivals "Oh my Godddd" from Troll 2 and "He's the Lawrence of my labia" from Sex and the City 2, Lively spouts, when speaking of screwing the war veteran, "I have orgasms. He has wargasms." Grrrrr! How f-ing stupid is that f-ing line?!?! It pisses me off to be honest with you. Wargasms? Come on. Just bad writing.

The voice-over from Lively as well...terrible. It truly sounded like an audition tape from one of those online broadcasting colleges. And Emile Hirsch...what was he doing in this movie? His part should have been played by a talented extra. He was completely wasted, a "nothing" role. Hirsch personally must have had a few difficult days driving into work during filming, wondering where his career was heading.

And how in the world, Stone, are you going to start a movie off with the voice-over of Lively saying something to the effect of "just because I'm talking at the start doesn't mean I'm alive at the end"...just for her to end up being friggin alive at the end?! WTF?! But I could excuse all these things...all of them...if the movie wasn't such a BORE! Stone should be having fun with this movie, ala Natural Born Killers, instead he made a cheap, lazy, boring movie with a terrible ending that ended up costing me $5 and two hours of my life. Oliver Stone, you sir, can supple upon my ball sack!

JD
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2/10
awful and sick
eclauditza_2021 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
If you're having a good day and you want to ruin it , just go see this movie. If you're having a bad day and you want to feel worse, go see it.

Let's be serious the movie is pretty disturbing and sick to say the least. I am not talking about the love between the 3 main characters, that is not my concern. They love each other and live peacefully, so far it is OK. But to make a point and to try to be such a great work of art this movie desperately tries to shock. The sex scenes start from the beginning of the movie and then you have the sick violent scenes. If you are the psycho type who enjoys watching people die, being tortured, pain, vivid images of people being shot, a whole through someone;s head as the guy gets shot, OK, then you will enjoy the movie. But if you are a normal sane person with no pro violence attitude, boy you're in for a "great" time. I felt like throwing up several times. spoiler The scene where they torture one of the cartel guys is horrible. He is being whipped until his eye comes out and they actually show that, this movie really raised my blood pressure and made my heart hurt. But then again, I should have known from the first 10 minutes when you see some heads that were recently chopped off their bodies... A good action movie can be made without being extremely visual and disturbing... Unless the target of the movie is psychopaths and serial killers, in that case they have to show such stuff to make their day... Sarcasm aside, I would def not recommend this movie to anyone and def. don;t take your kids with you... A total waste of time, full of plot holes and pretty bad acting too... The only one who deserves some credit is Benicio del Toro, he plays his role very well because you truly hate him throughout the movie.
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6/10
entertaining enough to be worth watching but the 2 guys were like cardboard and i hate to say it but Blake Lively is terrible in it .
Matthew Stechel23 August 2012
It was OK enough---it was definitely well directed--but the film would've benefited a lot from three better actors in the central roles. Don't get me wrong--its not that Taylor Kitch or Aaron Johnson aren't decent enough--both play their roles with exactly the same kind of stiffness that i guess suit their characters' circumstance but neither really add anything beyond what the screenplay has already provided them.. like if this were made say 10-15 years ago and you'd of had Steve Zhan and Ben Affleck in it i'm not saying it would've been batter but the two of them would've made you care for what might happen to the main characters a bit more i feel like. I'd rather not get into the lack of any kind of convincing emoting from Blake Lively here--- (She's supposed to be afraid for her life here--and somehow its like she's barely miffed---its as if instead of her life that's being threatened its her wi-fi connection.) having read the book this was based on--the character O in the story was a lot more resourceful and a lot more crazy then Blake Lively ever suggests in the two hours of running time---would that they had cast literally anybody else in her part,just off the top of my head would Lauren Ambrose from six feet under have been considered too old??? would Krysten Ritter??? would Kirsten Bell?? hell Alexis Bidel might of been able to pull this off better (and as much as i love Rory Gilmore emoting was never exactly her strong suit) at least Blake Lively's narrating was OK...i just really wish they could've found someone who could have really put this movie over the top here. God again if this was made like 10-15 years ago--imagine what a younger Juliette Lewis or a younger Illeana Douglas could've done with this.

That's really all i actually wanted to say cause everything else was fine enough--i was kind of expecting it to be more over the top if anything given that its Oliver St one's first crime film in a little while but its definitely over the top enough to satisfy anyone looking for an over the top crime movie. Its good enough that it overcomes the somewhat major obstacles in its path to keep you watching and keep you entertained but again with a little different casting--this could of been first rate.
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4/10
I am in shock
timgibson-126 May 2013
I honestly can't believe that this movie could be this bad. The Don Winslow book was a page turner that was filled with suspense, gangster violence, sexy scenes, and was so stylized. The 'coolness' of this story dripped off the pages. My expectations for the movie initially were low, but when I heard that Oliver Stone was at the helm I got really excited. I mean how could it go wrong? A story this good with a film maker who brought us The Doors, Platoon, and Any Given Sunday can't go wrong.

Well it did, in a big way. Acting was terrible, the voice over narration was annoying, and the editing was wonky leaving the film with no pace. And where was the Oliver Stone touches we thought would be there?!? Even the music sound track sucked. I am very disappointed!
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5/10
But he's such a nice drug dealer
David Ferguson12 July 2012
Greetings again from the darkness. I guess this qualifies as director Oliver Stone returning to his dark side. Based on Don Winslow's novel, it certainly has the foundation to be a complex, down-and-dirty, twisted plot, double-crossing, love triangle, ultra-violent, drug-dealing smörgåsbord. And while it possesses all of those elements, it still manages to come across as some slick Michael Mann cable TV project.

The film begins with narration from O (Blake Lively) who tells us that just because she is telling us this story, doesn't mean she is alive at the end. Huh?? She also tells us that she is in love with two drug-dealing buddies. Yes, both of them. Chon (Taylor Kitsch) is the ex-Seal and muscle in the business. Ben (Aaron Johnson) is the gifted botanist who turns the Afghan seeds into the most potent pot in southern California. Oh, and Ben is the ultimate philanthropist drug dealer. He builds schools in third world countries and invests in clean energy. After what felt like an eternity, the narration finally ended and I could stop yelling "Shut up, O" at the screen.

One day the boys receive a video via email. It's an invitation to a business meeting with the Mexican Baja Drug cartel. Suffice to say that the video contained no balloons or party animals. It was more of a warning about what happens if you choose not to do business with us. The cartel front men are played by Demian Bichir (fresh off A Better Life) and Benecio Del Toro (MIA since The Wolfman). The queen of the cartel is Elena, played by Salma Hayak. Throw in a corrupt DEA agent, playing both sides against each other, portrayed by John Travolta and all the pieces are in place for real fireworks once O is kidnapped.

The rest of the movie is pretty much the war you would expect with some poor negotiation skills tossed in for fun. Overacting is the word of the day, especially from Travolta, Ms. Hayak and Emile Hirsch (money man). Still not sure what to make of Ms. Lively (The Town). The camera certainly loves her but it's too early to tell if she has staying power as an actress. The only character that is really fun to watch is Lado, played by Del Toro. He is truly a frightening guy who also happens to have a deceptive mind on how to take over from the weak.

The whole good versus evil story line really only works if one side is good and one side is evil. If the good side (Ben) is a drug-dealer in a love triangle with his best friend, it's much more difficult to muster empathy. Otherwise, when the mandatory hostage/money exchanges occur, we really aren't invested in the characters ... and the action takes center stage. That's the sign of a forgettable movie with no real heart.
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8/10
A good thriller that delivers
jij981115 December 2012
In reading some of the very negative reviews posted here, I sensed that some of those writers were more interested In Oliver Stone then the actual contents of the movie. I am not such a great fan of Oliver Stone and thought Wall Street 2 was not well done. Savages, on the other hand, was quite close to the book, gritty, and well done. If you have a problem with the portrayal of Seals or the realism of the scenarios then lay the blame on the book not Mr. Stone. Some of the scenes were certainly quite gory, an increasingly common occurrence in many films these days. So if that turns you off then don't watch the movie. On the other hand if you want to see a good thriller that will keep you entertained and are comfortable with the topic area, drug dealing and violence, then by all means see this movie and do not be put off by the any bad reviews.

As for the ending, it was changed from the book and I think for the better. That's my personal opinion and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, despite my dislike for Mr. Stone.
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10/10
Stands Out
Jenna Tonozzi23 June 2013
I don't write reviews very often but because of the low ratings this film was given by users, I decided to let you know what I think.

This was an excellent movie. Plain and simple. It was filled with the perfect amount of action and drama. I thought the acting was very good and the storyline was phenomenal. I found myself getting attached and feeling for the characters and at some points, I was even in tears. It upsets me to see that so many users only gave Savages a one star rating and a bad review. The movie was rather bloody at parts but all in all, it was an outstanding movie. Savages was definitely worth the two hours and eleven minutes I spent watching it.
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8/10
Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion.
fayesbridegroom14 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is an amazing movie. Emotive, political and even spiritual.Therefore I would liken Savages to The Godfather, in its depth, And study of the the male ego.

When natural Born killers was released it was banned in the UK. Perhaps part of the reason was its moral code? As it was controversial as much as it was integral. Savages on a basic level deals with relationships and the way that the form the fabric of our humanity. Refreshingly Polygamy is given a supportive portrayal as is drug use.Furthermore the emotional destruction caused by firearms is very clearly portrayed.

The ending is one of the most powerful endings I have ever seen in a film. And is created to invoke intimacy with the viewer. challenging the way media feeds us clichés.

The changes that each character go through enables each of them to become more spiritually whole. each person must face their own demons : whether it is compassion for a ex solider, sadism for a Buddhist. or humility for someone with vanity.As Families can be found in all walks of life and this film shows how a family in love can creates a spiritual space, a dampening of the ego. Likewise the opposite a family without love will wither. even from the most aggressive of hands. I would then conclude the ego plays a large part in the making of a 'savage.'

For when we have no-one to yield to, are we are left with stagnation? I took all of this and more from this great movie.
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4/10
female teenager movie
doctor-kucho23 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
ALL THIS COMMENT IS A SPOILER, but that should not be a problem cause you should NOT watch this movie.

the worst of this movie is not that the super smart boys leave her go shopping when they know are in danger and plan to exit the country that same day, oh yeah they send a body guard, yeah , but driving another car, WTF?

neither the fact the macho boy let the Buddha boy who never touched a gun to participate in a robbery with rocket launchers, grenades and machine guns to a gangster drug dealers who's killing is their way of live

neither the fact the hostages swap operation is made on the dessert where everybody knows most prone thing is they will all die on a shooting

the worst thing is the fact that is made to be liked by brainless female teenagers mostly, and i am saying this for many reasons:

1.- The chick is the narrator

2.- The chick f%&ks with one super macho man and makes love with the tender one, and how she describes it is just a too obvious female sexual fantasy (this just looks like taken from a erotic novel for women!)

3.- The way the movie "ends" with that false finale, "this is how i imagined it" she said, all 3 lovers dying together for love, come on !! just pathetic.

4.- The romantic, epic, super cheesy ending of her narrating how special is everything and that she learned to live again in Thailand and blah blah blah ...and all those beautiful landscapes for f$%k sake, Disney movies are not this cheesy!!!
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1/10
Worst movie I've ever seen in my life
Jamey Potts1 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Is this movie meant to be taken seriously? Because I laughed through the entire thing. Blake Lively as O makes for a certain shoe in for the worst actress of the year at the razzie awards. Very nice Shakespeare reference. Not. The end beach sequence with her looking into the camera as the sun sets in the background was proof of how she is better suited for Calvin Klein cologne commercials, not major motion pictures,certainly not an Oliver Stone drug cartel "drama". Seriously, her and Taylor Kitsch should have just made a porno and called it a day. Kitsch's flaring nostrils and egregious dialogue in this film make me wonder how he will ever get work again. Oh wait, he was hired after John Carter. Never mind. Worst.Actor.Ever. Not one shred of personality on screen. His interaction with Aaron Johnson throughout the film as they shared joints and talked about their love for O was so contrived...I hate watching actors who I can tell are acting. I wasn't able to get lost in this film, I was aware of the acting and lackluster writing the entire 2 hours plus. The only "believable" part was when Ben and Chan were riding dirty with 300 lbs of weed in the van and the cop behind them flicked his lights on but ultimately went speeding past. That sense of relief is something to which I can relate. Otherwise....  Two weed entrepreneurs sharing a blonde bimbo who brings nothing to the table expect for her willingness to spread her legs..?!??Unbelievable that she was so special and irreplaceable. The trio lived in Laguna Beach, there's like a million "O"'s there.  If the love triangle was so "special", perhaps the viewer should have been informed why. Otherwise the movie looks like a stoned guy with  PTSD and his  Buddhist lover  trying to ensure that their source of vagina wouldn't be compromised to a Mexican drug cartel. Chan couldn't "last three weeks"...O could only last "like 7 to 10 days." WTF? My favorite part: When O asked her kidnapper for weed via Skype  "I mean the stuff we're all killing each other for". Hahahaha. I laughed so hard at the ending. I didn't realize this film was supposed to be a stoner comedy?  Benecio del Toro, Emelie Hirsch and Selma Hayek are lucky that their career isn't over after agreeing to be in this POS.
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7/10
Love triangles are always a hard sell, but you may like it.
John Raymond Peterson13 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Love triangles are always a hard sell, but you may like it; I can say I managed to get past the hang-up I have with the idea, though I did like the sex scenes with Blake Lively. There are no real good guys in this movie, unless you romanticize drug dealers. If you do, then the movie to see is the 2001 movie Blow with Johnny Depp; I've seen just about all the drug dealing based movies and few come close to it. Getting back to Savages, I have to say that despite a not so original scenario, the movie keeps the pace upbeat enough and has sufficiently interesting scenes to garner a slightly better than average rating (by average I mean a 6).

I watched it to the end and to be honest, it was because Benicio Del Toro played a supporting role. For some reason, I watch all the movies he plays in even if half have been a disappointment; the good ones seem to make up for the bad ones. I have nothing much to say about Travolta anymore, not until he starts acting; he hasn't since Primary Colors, though he's had a bunch of terrific parts that made him look good. In this movie, you may realize that Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Taylor Kitsch who play the two lead men are talented enough. I recommend it if have the time and watch an inordinate number of movies; if you don't, you can skip it.
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8/10
Way better than you might think.
Rob_Taylor22 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm guessing this is a bit of a Marmite movie. Even though I hate Marmite, I loved this movie. That is the wonder of Marmite! So we have a drug-growing, likable threesome that falls afoul of a drug cartel and has to go on the offensive when things turn ugly.

So, things I took away from this movie, which isn't terribly realistic.

1. Getting involved in the drug business (in any way, shape or form) is ultimately bad for you. Who knew?

2. Drug cartels are brutal and violent. Cops can be corrupt. Again, who knew.

3. Love conquers all. Pretty obvious, that one.

So, having been muscled in on by the cartel, our threesome decides to get out and skip town. But the nasty drug-lords want their prize (in this case a special type of pot grown by one of the guys). So they kidnap the shared girlfriend and hold the guys to ransom over their secrets.

Savages is terribly violent, and not for the squeamish. It also glamorises the drug trade somewhat (though see point 1. above). There is also the three-way relationship between the two men and their shared lady, which some people, who only think in black and white, obviously, seem to find almost as objectionable as the drugs and violence.

I won't argue for a minute that drugs are good, or that violence is always necessary in a movie. But here, it does work rather well. There is some confusion on the movie's part as to whether it wants to be deadly serious, or somewhat tongue-in-cheek. You can be faced with nasty, hideous violence one moment, and then you are laughing at the next scene. In short, it's a little bit Jekyll and Hyde. This can be a little bit unsettling, I grant you. It would have been better if they had stuck to one tonal level.

Right, the threesome. Putting aside the various level of acting ability, what's wrong with that? Nothing. Someone said that "O" (the female of the triplet) was a slut and couldn't decide who she loved. Black and white thinking, sorry. It is perfectly possible for one person to love two people and no, they don't actually have to be emotionally damaged to do it. I'll grant you, that the dynamic and setup of this trio needed more explanation, but it was fairly well covered, in the scenes they did give us. But I'll help out the emotionally hard-of-understanding with the following simple summation: The guys both loved "O" so much that they would rather share her than forcing her to make a choice that could ruin their friendships, because, let's face it, if you are in that situation and forced to make a choice, you'll ("O") choose neither (because it wouldn't be fair to choose one over the other) and go your separate ways, probably leading to the collapse of the guys friendship as well (they'll blame each other). In short, the relationship as it is, is a stable one.

Phew! Right! Back to the characters! Well, the two guys are chalk and cheese. Most of the character development (there is some) is focused on Ben's character. He's the peace-loving one that goes down a bit of a dark path on the journey to rescue "O" from the drug lords. As portrayed, both Chon and "O" (I have no idea why I keep putting her name in quotes) are damaged individuals who rely on Ben to keep them grounded (even though they are more often than not high). Ben's journey damages them, because they have to witness it, and don't much like being reminded of their own faults, which Ben mirrors towards the end.

It's a pretty brutal film overall, and not for everyone. I actually enjoyed it considerably because it was different from the usual Hollywood pap. I don't think it was one of Stone's best movies, but top marks to the guy for continuing to take on difficult matériel.

The ending is best described as "Marmite-within-Marmite". Look what happened! Oh no! Wait, that wasn't it at all! But it does, at least, allow you to blank out one or the other in your head in order to satisfy your particular needs as regards an ending.

I'll also point out that the threesome is a key ingredient in both endings and that neither ending is particularly satisfying to the viewer, making the point that things don't all work out for the best, even if characters live.

SUMMATION: Dark and brutal and not for everyone's tastes. But it is a little different and that is what makes it enjoyable.

TOP TIP: Not really a date movie. Do not take your girlfriend and her hot sister to see it thinking you might all end up in bed together. It won't end well.
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5/10
Poorly written and Directed. Good actors can't salvage savages.
Tcarts761 November 2012
The story of this one is fairly decent. Two marijuana growers from SoCal, Chon (Taylor Kitsch) a former Navy seal and Ben (Aaron Johnson) a SoCal Buddhist hippie, get a deal from a Mexican drug cartel run by Elena (Salma Hayek) that they agree to but decide to escape the country and disappear. Elena has their shared girlfriend, dumb blonde California girl Ophelia (Blake Lively) who goes by the equally stupid name O. In order to get her back they must jump through some hoops and agree to terms. The guys decide that they will take things into their own hands and savage violence ensues.

The Good: The story is interesting and solid, at least from a reading it stand point, although it's a tough sale for me, living in Southern California, that with our liberal medical marijuana laws, that anyone smart, growing to sell at collectives would actually get involved in this crap. Salma Hayek is a solid star in this one and is really the only one to give a solid performance. The visuals of the beach and a somewhat decadent lifestyle are definitely a good distraction. Blake Lively is a beautiful girl. Yes, she is in this movie, but her character is so dumb that she really loses her attractiveness, and I don't mean in a bubbly blonde way.

The Bad: The writing and directing is horrible, truly bad. ,I at first just thought the acting was horrible, but given the complete cast, I soon realized that as not good as the acting was, the only blame should fall on Oliver Stone himself. First, this movie didn't seem to ever find any kind of coherent style. At times it looks and sounds like it is trying to copy a sort of Quinten Tarantino like violent and crude movie, with some humor but that fell completely flat. At other times it promised to become a more action packed thriller but that too was just a tease.

Also having Blake Lively narrate this movie was an epic fail. Combined with the bad writing it comes off as a pretty, stupid girl telling a fourth grade story with the intelligence of a potato, and the vocabulary to match. Her voice is just not voice-over worthy. Just take one line from this movie, "I had orgasms, he had wargasms." yeah, was about the depth of thought involved in this movie.

I must also interject that Mr.Stone has probably never met a Navy Seal in his life. OK, maybe Jessie Ventura. His character that is suppose to be an ex-Seal comes off as a adolescent teenage thug, who couldn't find his way out of a paper bag.

In the end I think Oliver Stone has been to wrapped up in his lovefests with Cuban and South American Dictators, and maybe smoking too much marijuana to actually put out a decent, smart movie. Watching this one kind of made me feel sad for Mr.Stone, and miss the days when he put out good movies like "Natural Born Killers." (1994) I truly was hoping for a great movie when I saw the previews for this one but I was definitely disappointed. It kind of reminded me of that movie "Redline" (2007), remember that one? Yeah. Nobody else does either.

So for really bad writing, directing, not having any kind of coherent style, and not quite fulfilling its action and "savagery" that it promised, the best I can give this one is a 5 out of 10, and that may truly be kind and is out of respect to Salma Hayek who shouldered this movie pretty much on her own, although Del Toro had a few tiny moments.

Like my review? Hate em? Comments, questions, or want a DVD reviewed before you waste your time? E-mail me at : subliminal.lithium@gmail.com
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3/10
A Boy and His Bong
filmchaser25 December 2012
I love movies and watch them with an open mind remembering that this is somebody's art. Even the most open of minds can't make sense of this film, and it was just torture to watch for several reasons. First, that narration by Blake Lively was flat, and poorly written, making it a constant annoyance throughout the film, and making her seem replaceable. So why would we care if she is killed by some drug lord? We were hoping for the relief. Second, there was the absence of a back story that would explain to any intelligent and modern audience why these two handsome, rich, guys would waste their time on some average looking, obviously non-monogamous, space cadet, much less share her sexually, much less trust her with all their confidences, much less be in LOVE with her. What was there to love about that character other than her readily accessible vagina? Third, dear, dear Mr. Stone: if you want to make the audience fear for the delicate kidnapped flower's life by showing us gore scene after gore scene of torture, death, and blood-smear everywhere, why then would you create a character like "O" (I think the two guys were just too disinterested to remember her entire name) who, after being kidnapped and roughed up would DEMAND to talk to someone, to have better food, to have a better room from her psycho kidnappers? Lively's character just came off as a shallow, annoying, whore. Could this have been worse? Oh but wait, it does get worse. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who is arguably one of the best young actors today, is wasted as the laid back guy, while Taylor Kitsch is once again typecast as the heavy. And how many ex-SEAL's are likely to support such an unpatriotic and illegal business when they can make so much legal money as stunt men, consultants, or action figures? Then, out of nowhere, we see Emile Hirsch cast in some nominal role he made the best of, but again, was totally wasted in, and frankly, I wish they had cast him in one of the lead roles because it would've been a much better movie. Benecio Del Toro has now been typecast as the psycho more than once, but at least he didn't mutter or turn into a werewolf. John Travolta was good as the corrupt DEA agent. Salma Hayek was good as the conflicted ruthless widow-cum-cartel-queen-and-loving-mother role, but the woman had a lot of hats to wear in that one character as if the director couldn't decide if she was a heroine or a villain in his very disconnected film. Lastly, I'd like to say, I wish Taylor Kitsch would be given permission to act, because from what I've seen of him in his other films, he's more than eye-candy, and without good direction, it seems like he is being limited in range, not to mention being written into a character that has little credibility. I'd have been impressed if we had been given an explanation of his name: Chon. Is that an acronym for Confused, Handsome, Orphaned, Narcissist? There is no chemistry between him and "O" whatsoever, and typically, the type of man who would qualify to become a SEAL is not a man who would risk rotting away in federal prison for money made by illegal means, and is definitely not the type of guy that would be best friends with the type of guy played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, or the kind of man who would entrust his heart to a promiscuous surfer-shopping-mall-rat. So Mr. Stone, a little explaining about how these (3) were so irreversibly committed to each other in such a new age kind of no-boundaries-free-love-keep-O-pampered-way, so as to be willing to DIE for each other would have been a favor to the audience, as well as possibly connecting some facts leading to an actual plot a lot more credibly. Where is the story? Do your job. And fire the continuity and editing departments. You're no Guy Ritchie, that's for sure. And people only like Quentin Tarantino because he likes to out-weird himself with every movie, but even gore and torn bodies can get boring if there is no point to the splatter. You had an opportunity to make a love story gone wrong. You first have to convince us that there IS love. What bonds these two men with this vapid and shallow woman? What we DO see is the love between a boy and his bong, between a boy and a posse of smart employees, between a boy and his local DEA agent, between a boy and his money, and between a boy and his "wargasms." Whoever wrote that line should be shot. Whoever made Lively utter that line should be retired from directing.
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7/10
A violent crime thriller that manages to entertain despite its flaws.
G K3 December 2013
I got a kick out of reading the popular Hated It reviews about Savages. It's all very funny. It's the same with some other films that Oliver Stone made in recent years. But is Savages really that bad? In my opinion it's not that bad. It's a fine film actually. But its flaws can be irritating. When I began watching the film I wondered if I turned on a dirty movie. But no. That was just Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ophelia (Blake Lively) having their special time. Maybe it's not that special because later Ophelia has the same time with Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). I hope Stone included these scenes just to show that these three are very close. Fine. A little later though viewers are treated to what passes as a commercial promoting the use of marijuana. Fine. The three lead actors show little range throughout the film. But I didn't think that this was a problem because it keeps the film entertaining instead of too dramatic. It's entertaining but it's not easy to watch sometimes. It's a simplified, glossy, watered-down and often violent representation of the War on Drugs and Mexican drug dealing. The Mexican Drug War is still ongoing and several dozen thousand people have been killed because of it. For anyone who doesn't know I'll mention that the war is just a result of America's economic policies. So-called free trade drove millions of Mexicans out of work and into poverty and crime. On the other side of the world, in Afghanistan, the Americans and the British have deliberately increased opium production for export to neighboring countries, especially to Russia. Genocide as a result of drug use and drug trafficking is an old British trick that goes back centuries. It's an interesting topic but I don't pay much attention to it. Savages is kind of a peek inside, though it doesn't get into the seriousness of the issue. Even if Kitsch, Johnson, and Lively aren't sympathetic leads the film still has memorable performances from Salma Hayek, Benicio del Toro and John Travolta. The screenplay by Shane Salerno, Don Winslow and Stone can be considered a cheat. It doesn't just raise a question mark at the very beginning of the film, which I didn't like. It also tarnishes the ending. I would have just preferred the upbeat version without the downbeat version. But, like I mentioned, it's an entertaining film that does have something to say. Its running time is a little over two hours, however the time goes by fast. For me Savages turned out to be an engaging film. Dan Mindel's appealing cinematography is a benefit too. I didn't think that I'd like it when I saw the trailer, but it's a well-directed crime thriller. I recommend it.
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10/10
One of my new favorite movies. I don't understand all the negative reviews
kwalt198915 August 2013
I honestly feel like this movie's rating should be way higher than what it is. I thought that the movie was incredible and is definitely one that kept me on the edge of my seat! From the beginning, you get great character knowledge and some back story as to where things are going in the story. The plot line is just amazing! I loved the whole inside look at legal marijuana in California as well as the Mexican cartel portion. Some parts of this movie were absolutely terrifying! And some were quite heart warming.. Overall, it was just a great mix that really kept me entertained the entire way through! I've always been an Oliver Stone junky and he really nailed this one to the wall. I created an account just because I looked up this movie and saw that it's rating was under a 7! The problem with IMDb is right here, people writing their opinions unknowingly persuading someone else to not go out and see an awesome movie. People - if you haven't seen this, it is definitely worth your time and money, at the very least, you will be entertained. With all of the new movies coming out and worthless remakes appearing everywhere, this movie restored some of my faith in Hollywood. Lastly, I thought the cast was brilliant! Really liked John Travolta and Benicio Del Toro's rolls in this! Please don't let the bad reviews fool you, this movie is fantastic and a MUST-SEE!
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10/10
Oliver Stone the way we love
lorenzo2121 July 2012
"Savages" is Oliver Stone the way we like him - gritty, sexy, and oh-so-violent. This film starts as a simple story of a laid-back crew of Southern Californian pot dealers, but develops into and all out warfare between them and notoriously ruthless Mexican drug cartels, fronted by a very mean Selma Hayek. This is a Hayek we have not seen before - so gritty and dirty, yet so beautiful and elegant. And who is Hayek's backup - the dirtier than ever Benicio del Toro - in a magnificent performance. Yet the gang still has their hopes with John Travolta, and he steals the show. Drama in every scene, nothing is predictable, a statement from Stone on living in Southern California, which could be anywhere, in this day and age. We are all subject to the whims of the world, as Stone proves, we are perhaps too connected, too much. The world is not a large place anymore, but a terrifyingly small area, where unscrupulous people create havoc. A great storyline, great acting, depth, drama - all top of the line. Do see this one, it is fresh and new, exciting, and will leave you breathless. The 'ultra- violence' of the Droogies in "Clockwork Orange" have nothing on Stone's vision of violence in this masterpiece.
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