SAVAGES (2012, Oliver Stone): 3/10
This is one of the best times I’ve had laughing at a terrible movie in a long time. Not since Simon West’s CON AIR has an action film been so risible, and West didn’t even take his film nearly as seriously as Stone takes this. Blake Lively was good in THE TOWN and even on the guilty pleasure GOSSIP GIRL, but she’s horrific here; annoying, pampered, bratty, and self-important. She’s the center of a polyamorous triad with King of Flops Taylor Kitsch (dude, fire your agent) and KICK ASS’s Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who you know is sensitive because of his ponytail), whose weed-dealing business runs head into a Mexican drug cartel so dangerous you wonder why they don’t make more money selling coke. Especially because Stone’s bloated shit-fest feels like a relic from the late-’80s or mid-’90s (and not in a good way).
The dialogue is full of howlers (When Lively has sex with an Iraq vet, she says “I have orgasms, and he has war-gasms;” “Ben is a Buddhist, and Chon is a Baddhist;” and “My mom has been married so often I’m part of a 12-stepdad program”), and the never-evending cast of heavyweights take turns chewing nonexistent scenery (like Travolta constantly slurping on fast food, Del Toro doing a Danny Trejo impression, and Demian Bichir wishing he was back on WEEDS). Only Salma Hayek turns in a strong performance here, coming across as an authentic cartel leader with some dimension, but she’s drowning in the script’s ridiculous turns. Shea Whigham, who is almost always the best thing about any movie he’s in (whether it’s a damn good film like TIGERLAND or crap like BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS), is quite effective in one early scene as well, but he plays his part so seriously that the mood is set up for heavy stakes and drama. Then Stone spends the rest of the movie mishandling the drama and removing any and all interest.
Maybe the late Tony Scott could have brought some life to this destined-for-$1.99-bin trash, but that would have involved bringing on new writers and re-casting the film with a far more talented trio of leads. As it is, this is still an extremely entertaining watch — for all the wrong reasons.