Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Give 'Em Hell, Malone (2009) - By Mark Oswald

Give ‘Em Hell, Malone is a new-school, but trying to be old-school Film Noir hardboiled detective movie. This is another one I picked up on after hearing frequent praise across the Interweb. Thomas Jane stars as the titular Malone, a hard-talking, hard-drinking, and even harder-shooting private dick on the trail of a brief case, a mysterious client, and the truth behind it all. My feelings towards Mr. Jane have shifted quite a bit in the past. I unfortunately first took notice of him in the one-two punch of Dreamcatcher and The Punisher (2004); two movies which I had to laugh my way through in an attempt to avoid actual physical pain. It wasn’t till I saw more from his catalogue and gained additional insight into who he is as a person, that I started to really like him. I enjoyed his performances much more in Stander, Boogie Nights, and The Mist. He was also, as I’m sure you’re aware, in Deep Blue Sea, but I don’t think people are watching that one for the meaningful performances. In this movie he performs admirably and with the amount of dedication you’d wish all performers put into their work. Some of his detective babble is a little corny at times, but he’s obviously having a ball with the character, as I’m sure the rest of the cast is as well.

Speaking of the rest of the cast, you’ve got Ving Rhames (The Tournament) as a sympathetic enforcer for the main villain, Elsa Pataky (Snakes on a Plane) as the requisite femme fatale, and Doug Hutchison (The Green Mile, Horace from “LOST”) as a pyromaniac named Matchstick. Hutchison’s performance is similar to Heath Ledger’s Joker, but goofier so the similarities didn’t bother me. I couldn’t help but laugh every time he started talking about fire, because he literally did so every scene he was in, like “Fire again? Really? We get it!” Oh and um…French Stewart is also in this movie as a douchey nightclub crooner. He wasn’t quite as annoying as usual, so I didn’t mind too much.

I hate chapstick.

The film takes place in a very nondescript time-period where it’s almost as if all these characters time traveled from the 1950’s to present day, because they all dress and act like they’re living 60 years in the past, except for their knowledge of email and other modern conveniences. Things move at a pretty quick pace for the 90 minute runtime, so even the couple places where the whole thing got a little too goofy were over with before I knew it. One of the highlights for me was the opening shootout, where Malone takes on an army of henchmen in order to obtain the briefcase he had been hired to retrieve. The majority of the film’s body count was racked up in this scene alone. It was nice to see a good old-fashioned gunfight where one man takes on a seemingly endless amount of bad guys by himself, with little difficulty. Truly heartwarming.

After this awesome display of pistol work, Malone goes to visit his Mom at a retirement home, which is where he goes to get stitched up any time he is injured. This was a funny take on the usual detective story business. Usually if the main character in a movie like this is hurt, he’ll go to some seedy underground doctor for patching up, but here the guy just heads to his Mom’s place. She fixes his wounds but not before giving him a hard time about his personal life and all that stuff, like a good Mother should. I found it funny that even she calls him Malone, so I thought maybe that could be his first name, but it’s never really gone into deeper than that.

So would I recommend this to you? Well yes, I think I would. Unless you’re opposed to numerous displays of onscreen violence and sadistic behavior, you’ll probably have a good time with this. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and though I probably won’t watch it again any time soon, the memories of its tale will stay with me.

Body Count – 38

Number of Deaths from the Opening Shootout Alone - 25

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