Thursday, July 5, 2012

Savages Review - 2½ Stars

Oliver Stone returns to his energetic blow ’em up over the top filmmaking roots in “Savages”.  As the story begins California valley girl Blake Lively explains her relationship to Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson—one a brilliant botanist the other a war vet tough guy.  The explanation:  the two guys share her.  They come up with a business plan to grow and distribute high quality weed that soon turns into a multimillion dollar business.  Their success attracts a Mexican cartel run by Salma Hayek, who makes them an offer they can’t refuse.  Except they do refuse so she kidnaps Blake to keep their attention.  The story escalates into all out war.  Benicio Del Toro has some great moments as a cartel enforcer with a scheme in the back of his mind.  John Travolta stands out as well as a crooked DEA agent.  The movie runs long and concludes with two endings, one romantic the other violent.  “Savages” left me exhausted and fuzzy, despite some very fine moments, and good energy.  I’m not sure I ever embraced Blake Lively as worth the trouble she causes in this story.  And her voice over storytelling gives an energetic piece too much of a laid back feel.   The the result comes out quite mixed.   Does it deliver what it promises?  Oliver Stone over the top Drug War fantasy.  Is it entertaining?  Some great characters and character acting.  Is it worth the price of admission?  A mixed bag.