Runtime: 102 Mins
What To Expect: An unfairly maligned movie that is better than most say
This film had several large targets all over its back. Firstly, it was a remake of the original, a film that needs no introduction. Secondly, it was a Stallone movie. Third, it came out during Stallone hunting season; that is the era when Stallone was down and his detractors couldn’t shit on him enough for it. I must admit, I didn’t care for it much myself initially – I might even have been affected by the negativity of so-called ‘critics’. Today, it’s a different story. I now view the film not as poor, but as most definitely watchable and competent, a real straight forward Manly Movie. Take this exchange between Stallone and Michael Caine as an example:
Caine: You know Jack… revenge… it doesn’t work.
Stallone: … (loading firearm)
Stallone: … Sure it does.
Now this frank, ballsy, unashamedly straight forward wording is not the type to leave an impression on people who sit around sipping wine after a movie, contemplating perceived subtexts or philosophical messages (which usually don’t exist anyway). But it is the type of exchange that’ll leave an impression on people who like to watch such movies while getting fucked up on whiskey and Miller. Its target audience. Like the readers of this site.
Stallone is a sharp dressed ‘problem solver’ who uses leather gloves to make beating up people who don’t pay their shit easier on the old knuckles. He goes to Seattle to find out who murdered his brother and raped his niece. Meet the premise: Sullen hardass is in town to make people pay. It’s not Shakespeare, never claimed it was (the trailer looks a scene from a warzone). It isn’t even hard to figure out who did what, but that’s not the point. Does it work as a thought provoking thriller? Nah. Does it work as a violent retribution story? Sure it does. Violent retribution against Mickey Rourke and his associates. And you gotta love Sly for casting Rourke. So the story goes, prior to this movie, Mickey could barely afford to eat pasta untill Sly gave him a helping hand. Rourke delivered.
Speaking of Rourke, it’s not just Michael Caine and Stallone who get to share some alpha dialogue. Rourke is at it too. He’s ultra cool, take the scene where Rourke, flanked by two prostitutes (?), dismisses Stallone: “Now if you’ll excuse me, Jack. I gotta get back to the talent”. That’s just fucking amazing, Russell Crowe would’ve looked like a laughing stock trying to pull that off. It’s not just Rourke, John C. McGinley is here too, trolling it up. He knows the score. And you know, the action ain’t half bad either. A good weighty car chase and a massively satisfying fight scene between Mickey and Sly, Rourke gets the better of him for the most part which keeps it interesting.
It’s not great. But like another Stallone movie of the time, D-Tox, it doesn’t deserve a tenth of the brutal criticism it garnered. Get Carter, you have definitely grown on me.