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The Way of the Gun (2000)
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Review Date: September 05, 2000
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Producers: Kenneth Kokin
Actors:
Benicio Del Toro
Ryan Phillippe
Juliette Lewis
Plot:
Two out-of-luck schnooks looking for a fortune to save them from their dead end lives, kidnap a surrogate mother with hopes of demanding big-time moolah from the rich parents of the baby upcoming. Of course, things never go off without a hitch, and the two boys quickly have to deal with problems arising. This includes the two bodyguards who were hired to protect her, the bagman, who wants to make a deal with them, and the surrogate mother herself, who turns out to be more than a handful.
Critique:
This film's got plenty of style and blood to spare, even a couple of decent rat-tat-tat scenes tossed here and there, but the plot is just too elaborate for its own good. Coming from the writer of THE USUAL SUSPECTS, I certainly expected some confusion, although not to this extent, but I damn sure didn't expect this film to be so boring at times. Yeah, that's right, there is a whole stretch at the center of this movie that is just plain tedious. The film features about three very cool shoot-out scenes, a very funny opening scene and fills the rest of its time going back and forth between way too many characters all bitching about who's gonna do what to do whom next...over and over and over again. "And here's my motivation"... bla-bla-bla-bla ...can we get on with it already!? Of course, the biggest problem is that you just don't care about any of these characters, so while they're all going on and on about what they want to do and what they think should be done next, you're just left wondering why the film isn't keeping you all that interested. Add to that, the fact that many of the characters eventually start revealing connecting relationships to one another, and it all starts feeling a little too much like a giant soap opera with bullets.

Overall, I would say that I was disappointed with the film. I suppose that my expectations were a bit too high and few of them were met. Sure, Benicio Del Toro was good as usual, the score appropriately dour, reminiscent of the Leone flicks with that extra Tex-Mex feel, and the shoot out scenes really loud (and I mean LOUD!) and bloody (Peckinpah anyone?). But with so much downtime and overwrought dialogue, a lot of which just felt "written", I just didn't like enough things in the movie. It's also the kind of film that seems to want you to see it a couple of more times in order to fully absorb its convoluted plotline. What a shame. A great trailer, some really cool actors, including Diggs and Caan who both come off very well, but ultimately way too many stupid side characters, like the dweeby doctor and the completely one-dimensional bitchy wife, and the film erodes under its own over-ambition. And even though blood never really bothers me, though it might bother some people after this movie, I was particularly taken aback by one bloody "operation" scene near the end of the film that just grossed me out completely. A little "overdone", I thought.

All in all, I suppose I was not "taken" by as much of this film as I had hoped but certainly wouldn't qualify it as a bad picture. Others may enjoy it for their own reasons, and I will admit that it does contain many positive elements, including a memorable score, solid directing and some great shoot-out scenes. Check it out and let me know what you think.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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