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A straight-to-DVD action flick
on 6 October 2011
Setup features some pretty big names for a film that didn't merit a cinematic release; what with 50 cent, Ryan Phillipe (Crash) and Bruce Willis (Die Hard Quadrilogy) headlining. The story revolves around a diamond heist when Vincent (Phillipe) betrays his team and attempts to murder them. Sonny (50 Cent) vows to get revenge, even if it means teaming up with the Detroit Mob-boss (Willis) to do so. Will he get his vengeance?
The plot is immensely predictable; following a 'set-it-up & knock-it-down' formula the entire way through. For example, when Sonny is shot in the opening scenes, we know he is going to be saved by his over-sized gangster crucifix because we saw him kissing it in the scene prior. Such obvious direction really begins to grate after a while. Even the Pulp Fiction style accident you will see coming a mile off.
Unfortunately, the one thing that could have saved this stilted plot & ham-fisted script is the actors. However the performances are sub-par for everyone involved, most notably Phillipe whose pseudo-street accent is awful and unintelligible in places. James Remar plays Phillipe's incarcerated father and is a random inclusion as it seems to be a completely separate plot-line that goes nowhere, is this a prison-movie or a heist-movie? It seems not even the director (Mike Gunther) could decide that so he hedged his bets and came out with neither. The camera work is annoying; throughout the entire film, the camera frames the actor, leaves it two seconds, then rapidly zooms about 2ft further, in an overly-dramatic and noticeable reframe. This is a cool technique, it grabs your attention but it's used in utterly mundane scenes (this refrigerator needs a sudden-reframe! Swoosh!) and about 40-50 times throughout the duration, it really wears thin quick.
50 Cent's role as the protagonist is laughable as he is trying SO hard to shake the gangster affiliations from his real-life persona by insisting on including scenes where he is a 'nice-guy' - like the totally unnecessary hardware store scene where he helps a child get a light-bulb from the top shelf. Ah, isn't he a sweetie when he's not waving a gun around? What's more confusing is that he refuses to kill anyone but is totally down with committing armed robbery in broad daylight at the beginning of the film. Oh and despite being shot early-on he shows no sign of injury throughout the entire film, not a bloodied-bandage or even a wince.
In conclusion, I'm sorry to pan this so badly, but it is a wooden and uninspired film that borrows heavily from others in the genre. Willis is the only notable performance and that's more due to the fact it's Bruce Willis FGS rather than his lines. Probably one to avoid.