Friday, July 6, 2012


You never know what to expect with an Oliver Stone film.  In the late 80's there were few directors that were better.  'Platoon', 'Wall Street', 'Talk Radio', and 'Born on the Fourth of July' from 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989 respectively has to be one of the greatest runs in film history.  Of course his last four, 'Alexander', 'World Trade Center', 'W.', and 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' are certainly nothing to brag about.  So you just don't know.  And with a mixed bag cast of Taylor Kitsch (from this year's duds 'John Carter' and 'Battleship'), Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, and Salma Hayek, who the hell knew what to expect?  But, I'm happy to report, this is an exciting drug crime thriller from start to finish.

Kitsch and Johnson play marijuana dealers who get mixed up with a nasty Mexican drug cartel, including Del Toro and Hayek.  Lively plays their shared, vapid love interest.  And Travolta is a crooked D.E.A. federal agent.  But while all that sounds standard and cliche, this movie actually grabs you and doesn't let go.  It's a reminder of what a good filmmaker Stone can be when he's not being too preachy or overly stylized.  Sure, the sex, violence and gore are a bit gratuitous.  But from the guy who made 'Natural Born Killers', you should expect nothing less, and it's pretty tame in comparison.  So if that doesn't bother you, check this one out this weekend and take a pass on your friendly neighborhood web-slinger.

Grade: A-

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