(US - 2012)
Directed by Oliver Stone. Written by Shane Salerno, Don Winslow, and Oliver Stone. Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Demian Bichir, Emile Hirsch, Shea Whigham, Sandra Echeverria, Joel David Moore, Amber Dixon. (R, 130 mins)
There's some inspired flashes of the Oliver Stone of old throughout SAVAGES, and while it's not on the level of his finest work, it's his most entertaining film in years. Doing away with the maudlin, Hallmark sentimentality of WORLD TRADE CENTER, the SNL-level caricatures of W, and the perfunctory clock-punching of the awful WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, Stone may not be hitting the heights of PLATOON or JFK with SAVAGES, but he at least brings his A-game. Pre-release buzz seemed to indicate that he was back in NATURAL BORN KILLERS territory, but SAVAGES is perhaps most reminiscent of his neglected 1997 film U-TURN, at least in terms of tone and style. U-TURN is usually dismissed as minor Stone, but it's one of his most entertaining films, and SAVAGES has that same loose, freewheeling, occasionally dark-humored, anything-goes feel to it and between the nonstop profanity, sadistic villains, splattered brains, decapitations, torture scenes with dangling eyeballs, and a few fairly graphic sex scenes, it's a hard-R of the highest order.
|Chon (Taylor Kitsch), O (Blake Lively), and|
Ben (Aaron Johnson) before all hell breaks loose.
|Salma Hayek as the ruthless cartel boss Elena|
|Benicio Del Toro as the depraved henchman Lado|
|John Travolta as corrupt DEA agent Dennis, with Kitsch.|