Savages (2012)

Holy shit! Oliver Stone…buddy…what the hell has happened to you?!!! Not since Alexander (2004) have you fucked up a promising story SO badly! Alexander has the notable distinction of being the only film, to date, that I actually walked out of…as in ‘out of the damn theatre!’. That bloated, piss poor wannabe epic was a piece of leaking garbage…and so is Savages. When I saw the original trailer, I was instantly intrigued. You’ve got Stone taking a break from preaching to lend his visual talents to an action-packed piece of fluff fiction. No liberal agenda, just guns n blood. Last time he gave us something like that, it turned into the brilliant and criminally under-seen U-Turn (1997). Here, you’ve got a pair of dudes, one a hippie (Aaron Johnson), the other a (slightly) scary Iraq vet (Taylor Kitsch), who indulge in creating the most society-friendly marijuana enterprise known to our planet. Naturally, The Evil Mexican Drug Cartel, led by a vamping, over-acting (but still dead sexy!) Salma Hayek, gets wind of this and decides that she wants a large slice of the action. Oh, and speaking of action, the two weed dudes are happily fucking the same blond bimbo, all under the same roof. How ‘metropolitan’ of them! Said blond bimbo is played by a moronic Blake Lively and she takes responsibility for a BIG chunk of the idiotic bullshit in this flick. Her obnoxiously flat narration goes down like shards of hot glass. As in – ‘really painfully’. And when she’s stupidly prancing around on-screen, she just comes off like an intellectually-delayed slut. So, Salma decides that the blond cum-bucket is just the leverage she needs to convince the idealistic young entrepreneurs to see the errors of their ways, and to hand over her share. Cue the Mission: Impossible-like kidnapping…and let the games begin! What plays out is utterly ridiculous. Plausibility is tossed right out the window as the boys (and a group of VERY convenient Ex-special forces) opt to wage war on The Cartel to get their fuck-toy back. Savages reminds me of Guy Ritchies sad failure, Revolver (2005) in that most of the elements for success are seemingly there and accounted for. Good cast, intriguing story, competent, proven director, a healthy chunk of budget and a large profile distributor and it…just….doesn’t…work. At least in the case of Revolver, they had the good sense to recognize the incomprehensible turd that they had on their hands and opted to quietly sneak it onto rental shelves, in DVD form. Not Savages. Oh, no! This one got all the expected hoopla of a big-budget spectacle. And what a spectacle it is!!! Hell, this movie couldn’t decide on an ending…so it was given two! No shit…two endings! One complete ‘what if’ ending where they die bloody (and stupid ) deaths during the ‘slut handover’ and another where all is pretty much fine and dandy. If this approach was supposed to lend it some kind of abstract artistic integrity, it REALLY failed. It comes off as cheap, manipulative and lazy. I wonder how the cast felt when they actually saw this for the first time. Savages is now a substantial blemish on the resumes of all involved, including Salma Hayek, John Travolta (looking old with his ‘real’ hairline), Benicio Del Toro (playing a brutal killer who MAY be a cop…or…something(?), Aaron Johnson (who’d better thank his lucky stars that he’s got Kick-Ass 2 to fall back on), Taylor ‘I can’t seem to get a break!’ Kitsch, and Blake Lively, who really just needs to stay on that idiot show Gossip Girl (Sorry, babe…but it’s true!). Savages is just begging to be a victim of Direct-to-DVDitis. It sucks, not to put TOO fine a point on it. Shame on you, Oliver Stone. You’re better than THIS!! Smart’n the fuck up!!! Give us another war film next, as an apology for this crap. At least we know you can get THOSE right! You jerk.

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