Saturday, November 20, 2010

Get Carter (2000)

Director: Stephen Kay

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Miranda Richardson, Rachael Leigh Cook, Johnny Strong, Alan Cumming, Michael Caine, Mickey Rourke

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Truth Hurts

Plot: Jack Carter, a mob enforcer living in Las Vegas, travels back to his hometown of Seattle for his brother's funeral. During this visit, Carter realizes that the death of his brother was not accidental, but a murder. With this knowledge, Carter sets out to kill all those responsible.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Nope.

While this isn't nearly as bad as I've been lead to believe all these years, it's not as good as it should be. If I had never seen (or recently re-watched) GET CARTER (1971), I would have probably upped the score on this by a half point. Though I really like Stallone, he was either miscast or it's just that he played the character WAY too seriously. There was a lightheartedness to Caine in the '71 film that helped play up the bursts of ultra violence. Here, Stallone pays it so heavy that you expect the violence but don't get much.

His interactions with his dead brother's daughter are terrific, some of the best parts of the film. No music...just the two of them having a conversation. Those were nice. I was pleasantly surprised that the wonderful theme Roy Budd wrote for the original was back. That added some class. And they even re-used some dialogue and scene set-ups from the original. Sometimes they worked (like the bit where Carter stands near the car while the passenger tries to give him airline tickets to get the hell out of Dodge) and mostly they didn't (like where Carter finds out what set his brother's rage in motion.). In the original, the latter scene was incredibly powerful and Caine's performance sold his rage. You completely see in that one moment what turns him from simply trying to find out if/who killed his brother to full on total retribution. Stallone lacked that subtlety and skill as an actor in that similar scene. Don't get me wrong, I think Stallone has had some really great dramatic moments but this wasn't one of them.

While I liked seeing Caine in the remake, it felt like stunt casting by the time I reached the finale. Oh, and the ending? Didn't like it. I LOVED the cynicism of the original which also seemed practical. There was justification for how that one turned out. The remake is much too neatly tied up and optimistic for my taste. I don't mean disrespect to Stallone but with some minor changes in the story (keeping it closer to the original) and putting Jason Statham (or Clive Owen or Jude Law or Michael Fassbinder, et al) in the lead, this could have been a much better and leaner film; one with gritted teeth and venom.

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