Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Savages (R/131 Min.)


The heat in Oklahoma has been a tad overwhelming as of late so instead of killing my a/c in order to keep cool this past Saturday (okay, so now it was 2 Saturdays ago), I took advantage of AMC’s air conditioning instead. I saw four movies and managed to pick ones that weren’t too terribly bad. Yea, me! But!!! If I did have to choose which movie was the worst, Savages would be it.

Savages is the story of O, Chon and Ben, a woman and the two the boys she is in love with. Yup. That’s right. A love triangle if you will. And a love triangle if you won’t. The boys grow primo pot for medicinal (and not so medicinal) purposes. A big drug cartel in Mexico heard about their booming enterprise and wanted in on the action. They ever so kindly invited Chon and Ben to become a part of their operation and share the knowledge. When the boys declined the offer, the head of the cartel had O kidnapped. The head of the cartel apparently doesn’t quite dig what the boys will do to get O back.

The movie opened with O (Blake Lively) narrating. She explained that just because we hear her it didn’t mean she’s still alive. This automatically made me think she survived because the film-makers seemed to be going out of their way to trick us. Those sneaky so-and-so’s.

As mentioned above, Blake played the part of O, short for Ophelia. She was the female (obviously) part of the love triangle that is O, Chon and Ben. She was so absolutely the clueless damsel in distress. Or she’d just killed too many brain cells doing drugs. You be the judge. The only time we saw any spunk was when she spat on someone. O, you go, girl. For some reason Blake, as an actress, bugs me. I have absolutely no idea why. From everything I’ve heard about her she seems like a genuinely nice person. And she’s a FOODIE! I really want to like her acting. But I digress. O appeared to be clueless about what her boyfriends do. She knew they sold pot but that seemed to be where her knowledge ended. I would think that, in the drug world, they would either keep her completely in the dark or tell her everything. I would be wrong.

Chon was played by Taylor Kitsch of whom, as you might recall from previous posts, I’m not a huge fan. For the same reason I’m not a huge fan of Blake. No idea. Chon was in the military and served overseas; permanently changing his way of thinking. He was the bruiser of the group. If Ben can’t talk someone in to paying what they owe for the drugs, Chon goes in and gets it. He has no problem beating the stuffings out of or killing someone.

Ben (played by Aaron Johnson) was the pacifist of the group. He abhors violence in any form which, as you can imagine, came in handy when trying to help rescue his sweetie from the thugs in the drug cartel. I was there to see an action film so Ben sort of faded in to the background for me. He was basically the 2nd damsel in distress.

Salma Hayek is Elena, the head of the drug cartel. While Elena can be quite civil, and even sympathetic, she doesn’t balk at allowing people to be tortured in very disgusting and painful ways. Of course, if it wasn’t disgusting or painful it wouldn’t be torture. She seemed to be untouchable but, at one point, inadvertently mentioned her Achilles heel. Whoopsy. Fortunately the boys were paying attention.

The part of Elena’s head henchman, Lado, was played by Benicio Del Toro…and his hair; neither of which were fun to watch. John Travolta played Dennis, a cop sitting on both sides of the fence. He was so incredibly sing-songy and whiny. I didn’t care for him much either.

The one actor I really liked (Demian Bichir) wasn’t in the movie for long and I don’t like that I liked him seeing as he was another of Elena’s top guys. Demian played the part of Alex, a loyal member of Elena’s cartel. Very bad things happen to Alex. Very, very bad things.

I should have led with this little factoid but this is most definitely NOT a movie for kids. It earned its R-rating. Let’s see why:

Sex/Nudity – Sex. Most definitely. O had sex with both her boys; individually and altogether. There was also a rape scene (short, but there nonetheless). Despite all the lovin’, none of the bits and pieces were shown. I thought we were going to make it through without seeing anyone’s parts and then they went and showed the upper portions of Lado’s lady friend. Why was this necessary? Did they really think men wouldn’t like this film if they didn’t get to see one pair of boobies? Ridiculous!

Drinking/Drugs – Yes and Yes! The alcohol was minimal compared to the drugs. I knew going in to this that it involved pot and other drugs but it bothered me that they made it look good. Not good enough that I want to jump on that train. It’s just a part of their lives like smoking but one step further. I’d worry about kids getting the wrong message but, once again, kids should not be watching this movie!!! Of course, we saw the bad side of drugs too so that evened things out a little bit.

Cursing – Yes!!! I tried to keep track but gave up. I was really surprised by Salma Hayek. She had a potty mouth big time. Comparing it to 21 Jump Street there wasn’t as much but there was still a lot.

Violence – Yes. And lots of it. The movie opens with men getting their heads cut off with a chain saw. We didn’t see it happen but we heard it and saw the after-effects. During an excessively brutal torture scene I think I saw/tried not to see a guy’s eye hanging out of the socket. Yuck! Once again, it wasn’t the blood that made me almost gag. It was the spit. What on earth?!?! It could have something to do with the fact that I didn’t watch most of the gory scenes.

Despite being apathetic towards a good number of the actors, I still thought this was an okay movie for what it was. I’m not going to recommend that anyone run right out and see this but if you’re in to drugs, sex and violence you might want to rent it. There really wasn’t anything that makes me say, “You must see this on the big screen!!!” Even the 2 or 3 car explosions weren’t big-screen-worthy.

The one thing I absolutely disliked about this movie was the hostage exchange scene. I don’t think I would have ever had any desire to see Savages again but that scene clinched it. I HATE scenes like that. The only time I’ve ever liked that kind of scene was in Run Lola Run. If you’ve seen that film then I just ruined part of Savages for you since it’s basically how the entirety of Lola was filmed. I would recommend that movie (but not for kids). It was kinda fun. If you really want to see Savages I would suggest waiting ‘til it comes out on DVD so you can rent it or go to one of the cheap-o showings. I’m glad I did.

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