Chon (Taylor Kitsch) is an ex-Navy SEAL. He grows some fine pot with his close friend and botanist Ben (Aaron Johnson). They share a girlfriend in Ophelia (Blake Lively) who fills in the plot points with narration and claims just because she is telling the story doesn't mean she will be alive at the end. I found her story telling irritating at times.
As fate would have it, the evil Mexican cartel wants to combine businesses. Our guys tell them, they want out, and they can have the whole thing. The Mexicans didn't like that answer. In order to ensure cooperation the cartel kidnaps Ophelia as the guys form a rescue plan. Ben must quickly learn to kill without the aid of any training or a music montage. Our heroes must walk a fine line between disrupting the cartel while working for them.
I liked Oliver Stone more when he made his historical films with a "truthiness" aspect to them. Now he thinks he is Tarantino. The film was certainly watchable and made very well. I believe it was beneath Stone to have done the film. The ending I thought was a mess and needed better developing...but at the same time if Tarantino did it, it would be genius. This is a love it or hate it type of film. I will take the middle ground.
GUIDE: F-bombs, sex, nudity, brief rape, torture.
Oliver Stones’ overlong violent thriller has a plot that stretches credulity, a screenplay peppered with risible dialogue and characters which are difficult to empathise with. This is an amoral tale about a couple of Ben and Jerrys-esque marijuana growers and dealers based in Laguna Beach, California threatened with a hostile takeover from a ruthless Mexican Baja cartel that will do anything to achieve its ends. The narrative involves kidnapping, torture, beheading, murder and a nauseating love triangle involving the two dope-dealing anti-heroes and a rich girl with daddy issues. For me, the only vaguely interesting moments of the whole movie were the sit-down negotiations between both sides and the references to percentages, sliding scales and other financial details which appeared to be set up to mirror big business. The film features scenery chewing performances from Salma Hayek as the fearsome head of the cartel, Benicio Del Toro as her brutal moustachioed enforcer and John Travolta as a corrupt lawman - but despite their valiant efforts this movie is a massive disappointment and borders on the edge of parody. The ending is something to behold. But perhaps I am being too harsh. I suggest that this is a film to watch on television so that you can arrive at your own conclusions.
Chon' 'Ben' and 'Ophelia' are best friends and lovers
'Chon' (Taylor Kitsch) and 'Ben' (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) run a successful drug supplying business.
Their dealing with a Mexican-Cartel is about to take a turn too far for the duo, the Cartel led by 'Elena' want to strike a new deal, ' 'Chon' and 'Ben' are reluctant to play ball.
The cartel do not compromise, it's their way or no-way................'Lado' the enforcer for 'Elena' take 'Ophelia'(Blake Lively) as prisoner to get the duo to tow the line.
'Chon' and 'Ben' realize they will have to fight fire with fire sinking to similar acts of brutality dished out by 'Lado' and his henchmen to secure the release of their friend and lover.
In truth it's not the fastest moving plot , however it will allmost certainly hold your attention.
Many sequences during the film are frankly uncompromising and brutal , also many scenes containing use of drugs.
Good Picture and Sound Quality..............worth a spin.
on 6 December 2014
I like Oliver Stone films generally, and I was excited to see this one, but this is a real mess. I gave it 2 stars because it could have been worse. It had no interesting characters, no-one to care about at all, no real plot or story - just a 'situation', and the ending didn't really make any sense - in fact, it was a total mess. The acting was enough for the one-dimensional characters, but that's it. I thought that the film might be a brutal warning against the allure of drug trade - easy money, sex, power, etc - but it didn't even go there. To be honest, I don't really know what it was about. A film by Oliver Stone with Benicio Del Toro, Selma Hayek and John Travolta about drug cartels sounds really promising, but this fails deliver on any point. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Stone was rewriting this as he was shooting it. Who knows. Stone can do better, hopefully.
on 22 September 2014
It's really frustrating when Lovefilm/Amazon look at a low res film poster and assume because the female lead has a black bob haircut it must be Uma Thurman! And actually Uma would have done a much better job than Salma who was utterly unconvincing as a mafia boss. Felt like Oliver Stone came up with this movie whilst doing bongs with a bunch of wealthy teenage stoners on Venice Beach. Funny though because when Tarantino attempts this sort of thing with Jackie Brown it feels effortless. Unfortunately for Oliver Stone it really doesn't work, I'm getting a little concerned about Mr Stone because Platoon was a long time ago. The film has such a lackadaisical approach it is hard to even slightly invest in any of the characters. To be fair Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson do the best that they can. Benicio Del Toro is also suitably unpleasant. But I don't get why we should care about 'O'? I mean poor girl, she's so pretty and rich yet her parents are absent. Boo hoo! welcome to the 21st century! Best thing to do is get it on with two guys sometimes successively and others in tandem. That will make the audience engage with her more. Seriously though what does her character actually contribute? The narrative had more holes than swiss cheese and ultimately the whole venture was totally pointless. Rewatch some of Stones pre Millennium work and remind yourself why he is a hollywood great, try to erase this from your memory maybe through acquiring some 35% thc produce.
on 29 July 2014
This film does have eye candy for everyone. Blake Lively and Salma Hayek for some, Taylor Kitsch and the other bloke for others, or all of them if that's your bag...
As a crime film or even an action film though, it's poor. I haven't seen Traffic yet, but I suspect that Savages is like that crossed with Hackers. There are 25 year old push-biking money launderers, cargo pant wearing 'ex Seals' with cool guns and drug cartels run by sexy but ultimately motherly figures played by Ms. Hayek (see above).
Actually, that doesn't sound all bad, but the acting and script are. I couldn't work out at one point whether Aaron Taylor-Johnson was pretending to be a poor actor because he was playing a scene where he has to act (don't ask), or whether he's exactly that. Blake lively comes over as a valley girl made out of cardboard. I don't really know what a valley girl is because we don't have them in Stockport, but I'm sticking with that description.
Turning to the script: Someone is paranoid - maybe they should 'lay off the kush'; that's a drug reference you know. And even after all the shooting's done and everyone is off on an extended gap year, Chon (yes that's his name) and Ben's weed still 'crops up from time to time'...
The skyping and the video'd executions are actually quite realistic from what I've read of the Mexican drug wars, but even they are shot in a heavy handed fashion.
Colourful, possibly youth oriented, but still tosh.
I know of acclaimed director, Oliver Stone, who released one stylish, deep-thinking, gritty classic film after another. Now, we find that someone else has only gone and stolen his name and is releasing films, pretending to be him... oh, wait, my mistake - it IS Oliver Stone.
Perhaps, Oliver Stone has suffered a nasty knock to the head recently and been duped into taking on this film when he wasn't thinking straight? Or maybe he was kidnapped by aliens and replaced with an identical clone who makes this sort of movie. Either way, it's hard to believe that the man who made Platoon, JFK and Natural Born Killers would stoop so low.
Actually, that's unfair. If you're into gangster-type films and you just so happened to watch this, you may think it wasn't that bad. Nothing brilliant, but certainly not rubbish. And you'd be right. However, it's an OLIVER STONE film, therefore with that sort of quality name attached to it, you just expect much more.
It's about a trio of drug dealers (two men and one woman), all of which are `in love.' Then, one day their threesomes are interrupted by a nasty ol' Mexican cartel demanding they take over their business. Then, to make matters worse, the Cartel Cliche only go and kidnap the two guys' girl, leaving them with no one for their ménage a trois. Therefore, they have to go on a rampage to get her back.
Now, this set-up leaves us with some awkward questions. First of all the three `heroes' are all drug dealers. They live a carefree and lavish lifestyle and it's hard to give a damn whether they get completely wiped out by the Mexicans or not. Secondly, the girl (or Blake Lively) is possibly the most annoying on-screen character this side of Jar Jar Binks. The whole first half hour of the film is taken up with her voiceover, making her come across as a voice in your head which just won't go away. Then, even when she does get kidnapped, she starts complaining about the accommodation and food the drug dealers are offering. Seriously... if I was those two guys I would have placed an add for a new threesome partner online and left her to the Mexicans a long time ago!
Plus the film is long. It tries to be epic, but it does drag in places. Then you have John Travolta, popping up occasionally to majorly overact. To counter this you have the - normally excellent - Benicio Del Toro coming across as if he's half asleep.
Don't get me wrong, the film isn't bad. There are a few cool scenes to make you sit up and take notice, but the whole package just seems a bit underdeveloped and not worthy of Oliver Stone's name.
If you really like gangster/drug deal films, then give it a go - you might like it. But, a lot of criticism has been poured on its ending. I won't give anything away, but I'll certainly say it's novel. You'll either love it or hate it.
on 8 September 2014
This is not really my sort of film, but I watched it right the way through. I think it was well done. The story is ok, the action is gory and brutal.
Two guys have been making a fortune growing, producing and supplying their own drugs. One believes in selling a "good quality" product at a good price without ripping anybody off. The other makes sure everybody else sticks to his best friend's rules. The other thing the have in common is O, the girl in both their lives. Think you know where this is going? No!! The Mexican drug cartel want there product and the get what they want even if they have to take the person you care about most. Now how far at these two willing to go to get her back. Not my favourite movie,, but it ticks a lot of boxes.
on 10 October 2015
Oliver Stone is a great director and in many ways, this is quite a tight stylish thriller.
It certainly grips and is well worth a view particularly if you are a fan of Tarantino or the Elmore Leonard school of crime fiction.
Ultimately it falls short of greatness because the jocular, cool comedic west coast style is inconsistent with the graphic violence that would have been justified in a serious 'Cartel' movie.
on 26 April 2015
I found this film very difficult to hold my interest. As events unfold, you never really have any connection with any of the characters and it gets to the point where you are 90 minutes and you don't really know what is going or why it's happening. I did not enjoy this film very much and it was also alot longer than it should of been. Overall, if you don't see this one, you're not missing anything.