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REVIEW: 211 (2018) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: 211 (2018)

Run Time: 90 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: Despite the backlash, a decidedly average movie with decent production values

This film is headed toward a 3/10 on the IMDb.  I’m sure it’s even worse on Rotten Tomatoes.  So considering it’s a VOD actioner with a 1990’s star well past his heyday on the cover (we all know how this goes), I wondered whether or not there was even any point in wasting my time.  I decided to hold my nose and see if old Saint Nic could defy hate and maybe shine up another turd with his troll skills.  In fact, the movie is not good, but surprisingly average.

The description for a 211 police code is robbery.  That’s what you get in this movie when a bunch of Afghan war vets decide to take their ire out on the system and relieve the Fed of some green.  Outside the bank they’re robbing, Nicolas Cage is a beat cop on routine, with a troubled kid in the back of his car on a ‘ride along’.  Cage, his partner and the kid stumble upon the robbery.  Soon, a shoot out starts, one which begins around the 25 minute and for all intents and purposes continues until the credits roll.

The film is threadbare even by B-movie action standards (it is an action movie).  You have Nicolas Cage playing a cop, with hints of his daughter being estranged.  His partner is his son in law, who is an expectant father, but also severely wounded.  Then you have a bunch of D-list actors playing the bad guys inside, with even less characterization.  They’re just in there for the money, but they don’t even tell you what they’d spend it on.  Take notes for example from Bill Duke’s character in Payback.  He was a bent cop and he would boast about what he was going to buy with his pending ill-gotten gains (a fancy boat).

On the upside, the production values are good for such a cheap movie.  For one, it’s filmed in the USA, on a sunny day.  Second, expensive cars get smashed up and shot up.  But easily the strongest thing about the film; the gun battles.  Here we have real guns shooting white hot spent brass, none of the CGI fake jerking shit.  You can tell when the actors are firing loud, automatic assault rifles that they’re not comfortable doing so, which is a good thing.  I mean it’s sad to say in this day and age that a film should earn brownie points for using real guns.  Real squibs too, even for the poor civilians who get chopped up and shot up (the film is quite violent, the baddies quite murder-happy).

Would I recommend this film?  Not really, but I’d like to defend it from the hate.  The movie knows its limitations, doesn’t try to go for one of those silly VOD-twists and there is no shaking cameras or spaz-editing. Cage is in most of the movie too, a full day’s work.