Reviewed by: Brett Willis
|Featuring:||Ben Affleck, Ashton Kutcher, Charlize Theron, James Frain, Danny Trejo, Gary Sinise, more »|
|Producer:||Dimension Films, Marty Katz Productions, Cary Granat, B. Casey Grant, Mark Indig, Marty Katz, Chris Moore, Andrew Rona, James Sbardellati, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein|
From the advance advertisements, this film looked like it might be an intelligent crime thriller. Not so; it’s a bloody action picture that otherwise holds its audience only by its unexpected plot twists and by a storyline so impossible that it borders on silliness.
Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) and his cellmate Nick are both due to be paroled from Iron Mountain (Michigan) prison a few days before Christmas. But during a rigged prison riot, a man apparently seeking revenge against Rudy instead stabs Nick, who intervenes. On release day, Rudy knows that Nick’s penpal girlfriend (Charlize Theron) will be waiting at the gate; so he decides to impersonate Nick and get himself some casual romance (and he’s the HERO of the film). Problem is, the real Nick was once a security guard at a nearby Indian gambling casino; and there’s a small-time crook (Gary Sinise) who needs Nick’s inside information in order to finalize his gang’s plans to stick up the place. Once Rudy has said that he’s Nick, he has to pretend to be Nick to everyone.
Profanity is extreme (over 50 uses of f*). Bloody violence is also extreme. There are two scenes of implied sex with brief partial nudity. The false identity and double-crossings don’t stop with Rudy’s ruse as Nick; to avoid spoiling the plot, I’ll say no more on that point. Even the “good guy” character commits a number of crimes and unethical acts (as usual, Hollywood creates a far-out plot situation to make his actions seem more excusable than they ordinarily would be); so we must endure two hours of mindless violence with only half of a hero to cheer for.
I’d call this one a waste of the viewer’s time and a waste of good acting talent. The most enjoyable scenes for me were the landscapes of Upper Michigan (one of my favorite vacation spots), and there were only a few of those. To accept this film on its own terms, the viewer must suspend disbelief to about the same extent as when watching “Alice in Wonderland”.