Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Two wildly disparate best friends, the brainy humanist (Aaron Johnson) and a belligerent ex-special forces operative (Taylor Kitsch) share the same breathtaking surfer chick (Blake Lively) while catching waves at Laguna Beach and manufacturing the most potent marijuana known to man. Soon, a Tijuana drug cartel  is interested in their services and when they refuse, they soon find themselves embroiled in a nightmare with their girl at the center, being held hostage by the ruthless banditos. It has been nearly two decades since Oliver Stone has made a superior motion picture (I would argue "Nixon" was his last) and he almost returns to form in this gritty violence heavy action picture that shies away from his usual brand of conspiratorial politics. "Savages'" greatest flaw is its central casting. I couldn't have cared about the fates of the two utterly unlikable male leads and frankly the same goes for Lively, who never succeeds at being anything beyond beautiful and whose pretentious, inane narration leaves sour notes on both ends of the film. Thankfully, the pictured is buoyed by its colorful supporting performances which include Benicio Del Toro as a barbarous enforcer, John Travolta as a crooked DEA, and Salma Hayek as the head of the cartel. "Savages" is rollicking for awhile, but doesn't know when to quit and contains one of those reprehensible double backed endings where the only thing revealed is the indecision of the filmmakers. For awhile, this feels like Stone's return to pure movie making, but ultimately it will get tossed on the heap with his mediocre outputs of the last 17 years.