Running Length: 89 minutes
MPAA Classification: R for strong violence, sexuality, language, and drug content.
Cast: Donal Logue, Callum Keith Rennie, Gregory Sporleder, Paul Sorvino, Max Perlich, Joseph Griffin, Janet Kidder
Director: Kari Skogland
Producers: Ilana Frank, Antony I. Ginnane
Screenplay: Lachy Hulme
Men with Guns is an unknown Canadian film that I doubt very many of you have heard of. No, don’t worry. It’s not a shocker if you haven’t. There’s not much to be said about it – not much good, that is.
Eddie (Donal Logue, The Tao of Steve) and Richard (Gregory Sporlender, Black Hawk Down) are a couple of losers headed up to an out-of-the-way barn to collect on a debt, but upon their arrival, they are assaulted by a group of thugs both physically and emotionally. They manage to escape, but not before the damage is done.
So, the two decide that revenge must be taken upon this gang and they back up to the barn a short while later, armed with guns this time. A bloodbath ensues and Eddie and Richard are left with guns, corpses, and a stash of cocaine. They take the coke and scram – a bad idea on their part. Turns out that the coke belongs to a merciless drug lord (Sorvino, Goodfellas) and he’s pretty upset about it.
To put it in simplest terms, Men with Guns is a technical atrocity. The editing is uneven, the camerawork is distracting and unclear, and poor direction on Skogland’s behalf only worsens these aspects. Halfway through, the plot becomes incoherent and the motives behind the characters’ action are nonexistent. There are a couple of entertaining scenes that owe themselves to occasionally clever writing, but the film fails at anything beyond that. It’s just simply not good.
Acting is another problem. The performances are tacky and unbelievable, especially from Donal Logue, who overacts the entire time. Max Perlich delivers his lines with an unconvincing smirk and Paul Sorvino doesn’t even really seem to be trying. Gregory Sporleder and Callum Keith Rennie both do an adequate job with their characters, but that’s really not saying all too much.
Now, with all of the badness, there is some good news. It does end. The film does have an ending – an ending that comes a little too late, but an ending nonetheless. It’s not a particularly good one, but it at least it is one.
|Final rating: ★ (out of ★★★★)|
© 2011 Stephen Earnest