A colorful noir in which there is a lot of action, a slightly weak story, but the weak story is made up for by having the type of characters you would follow through a franchise.
Blood (Gore) & Guns
Characters Worth Noting
Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) | Holland March (Ryan Gosling) | Holly March (Angourie Rice) | Amelia Kuttner (Margaret Qualley)
Main Storyline (with Commentary)
It’s 1973 in Los Angeles and there is a two bit P.I. named Holland going around, pretty much scheming old women out of their money, and at the same time there is this man named Jackson who beats people up for a living. Not for the mob, not due to some warped sense of justice, but if you got the cash, he’ll beat that ass. Now, these two men find each other after a girl named Amelia pays Jack to beat up Holland. Which of course Jack does and with time Jack learns the reason Holland was chosen is because Amelia is on the run.
Leading to how these two become partners. Jack, after whooping ass and taking names for so long, he wants to have a purpose, he wants some sense of justice in his life, and while Holland often can be lazy, as his daughter Holly will attest to, he gets around to doing his job eventually. Thus leading these two to chasing down Amelia through parties, while dodging assassins, and all so they can get their hands on a porno Amelia made which has some damning evidence against the Auto companies. Which in the grand scheme of things may make you squint and go “What?” but with Amelia’s mom being the head of the Department of Justice, it makes Amelia more than a conspiracy theorist but someone who knows too damn much.
The comedic duo of Crowe and Gosling was a surprise, but so well played. I honestly do believe, as the overview notes, these two could really make a go with this becoming a franchise. Hell, if either were TV actors, I’d think this would make a decent series on HBO, Starz, or what have you.
To my surprise, while Holly was annoying sometimes, like when she keeps Jack from killing someone, for the most part she doesn’t become some annoying little kid made to help flesh out Holland’s character. Yes, she does stick her nose into dangerous situations which is frustrating, but with her getting a chance to attack people, yet not appear like some killing or fighting machine, you get this weird new sort of character out of her. One which isn’t like Hit Girl from Kick Ass but not your usual damsel in distress/ liability either.
By the time the film ends, you are honestly left feeling “That’s It?” Which comes from, not to spoil too much, you wondering what did Holland and Jack really accomplish? Add on an anti-climactic ending and it honestly leads you to believe that this movie perhaps would have been better to see if an audience would be interested in a show with these two than a 2-hour film.
On The Fence
The story itself is very weird and while it is good enough to justify the action and jokes, strip the film of those two things and the film seems almost barebones. Amelia knew about an Auto Industry scandal and decided to, alongside some “friends” make a porn which has this message in it. People are dying because the auto industry doesn’t want people to know about this part which would up their expenses, but keep the air cleaner. To me, considering all the death and mayhem of the movie, it seems like such an odd thing for so many to get killed over. Granted, the 1970s were a different time and maybe the Auto Industry at the time, or even now, had mobsters in the business protecting their interest, but if you really sit and think about what happened in the movie, it leaves you questioning far too much.
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