Saturday, July 07, 2012


       Director Oliver Stone has made many memorable films over the years. Sadly, Savages is not one of them. Mr. Stone is at his best when dealing with weighter subject matter. This is a violent throwaway thriller that could have been directed by anyone. There are no heroes here. It's a story of drug dealers versus a drug cartel and just to remind you of the title, characters repeatedly call each other savages.

          Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson are Chon and Ben, two Marijuana producers and distributors who live a peaceful life getting rich off their product. They are both involved with "O", played by Blake Lively. When a Mexican drug Cartel led by Salma Hayek force them to do business together by kidnapping O, the pair must find a way to get her back and stay alive in the process.

          Benicio Del Toro plays the Cartel enforcer, and "phones in" his performance. John Travolta also co-stars as a double dealing DEA agent and he too, adds nothing to his character. Ms. Hayek, to her credit, actually gives more than a one note performance. As for Mr. Kitsch, he redeems himself nicely here after the horrific "John Carter" playing a hot headed ex-soldier who will do anything to get Ms. Lively back. However, there is really nothing likable about the Chon, Ben or O characters. We're meant to sympathize with them as they want out of the drug business that has already made them millions but the lengths they go to get the vapid O back are ridiculous. 

          The film is violent and oozes sleeze. It left me wanting to shower off the dirt after watching it. By the end, everyone has acted savagely, including Mr. Stone, who pulls a fast one on the audience.

           If a crime thriller about drug dealers appeals to you, you can find a much better written, directed and acted story on television. It's called "Breaking Bad" and creator Vince Gillian can teach Mr. Stone a thing or two about how to get it right.

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