Review Date: January 08, 2003
Director: Joe Carnahan
Writer: Joe Carnahan
Producers: Ray Liotta, Diane Nabatoff, Julius R. Nasson
Jason Patric as Nick Tellis
Ray Liotta as Henry Oak
Chi McBride as Cheevers
Having said that, the spark that definitely takes this film to that other level has to be the superb performances put forth by both Jason Patric (you know, the guy from SPEED 2...hehehe) and Ray Liotta. Both men are charismatically messed up in this movie and as every minute ticks by, and each character is developed as a three-dimensional human being (Liotta's monologue about his wife was great), we can't help but be swept into their dark, grungy underworld. Top that off with a director who definitely knows how to shoot a realistic movie dealing with the psychological implications of the undercover cop, and you've got style up the wazoo (the opening sequence is about as energetic a sequence as I've seen this year), a story which feels a little rushed towards the end but engages nonetheless, and Liotta & Patric engulfing themselves into two no-bullshit bastards out to "do good", each in their own way. Some of the film's dialogue is also particularly snappy, especially in the case of Liotta, who barks out a number of intimidating doozies throughout. I swear I'd hate to be caught alone in a room with that guy. Yikes! The film also sports a number of memorable scenes, two of which I already mentioned, as well as one featuring Patric in a room with his "superiors", and one particularly harsh interrogation of a suspect in his own apartment. The film is also pretty graphic in some of its violence, but nothing that I've personally never witnessed in similar films before.
Overall, I think this picture will appeal to most anyone who enjoys their "gritty cop" flicks, stylistic camera tomfoolery, macho guys-- with genuine familial ties-- kicking bad guy ass and anyone who has previously enjoyed the thespianic endeavors (I know that's not a real word, but I'm going with it anyway!) of Patric and Liotta, both of whom are about as riveting as they come here. Grimly entertaining.