On this site, I've criticized the 2012 film choices of Taylor Kitsch on at least a couple of occasions. He tends to be involved in some pretty crappy movies and I don't know how long he can stay in the game doing this. He's a good actor, but he needs that one movie that may help him break out and become something of a household name. He's failed so far this year with terrible movies like Battleship and John Carter, but now he has the movie Savages to use as his next chance at building his brand.
Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) are best friends and have been for years. Ben is a peaceful man, while Chon is a former Navy SEAL with very little to live for in his mind. Besides their love for the beach, they have two things in common: They sell some of the best Marijuana in the world and they both live with and openly carry on loving relationships with Ophelia (Blake Lively). Together the three of them have lived in peace in Laguna Beach. That all changes when a large Mexican cartel decides to move in on their business.
Oliver Stone has made a name for himself making movies that are controversial or provocative at the very least. So it's not much of a surprise when we see that he's attached to a movie about three people who are in a happy three-way relationship with two of them dealing drugs to finance their lifestyles. A movie with that in the storyline is something that presents plenty of opportunities for all kinds of things that we're not used to seeing in American theaters.
First off, there are three things that may or may not catch you off guard as a viewer of Savages. Those three things are who dies, who doesn't die and the ending. I had a little joke that I wanted to use here, but I can't because it would spoil a certain part of the movie. I can't even give out a hint, because what happens is that obvious. None the less, it will come as no shock when it happens and you might even know what I'm talking about when you see it on-screen. The rest of those things that I'm talking about could be good or bad depending on what kind of movie fan you are and what you want to see.
As far as the movie itself, Savages is lacking in quite a few areas. The story is rather boring and basic for the most part. When you watch the trailer you'll notice that the love triangle aspect of the film is shown as an intriguing selling point for the potential audience, but in actuality, it's not that important to the actual movie or its plot. You kind of forget about this so-called love triangle after a while as you wait for some suspense or drama that rarely ever comes. Savages becomes even more stagnant when you realize they don't have much of an actual story to tell either.
Once you get into the story, everything is very basic and nothing stands out. Just about all of it is empty and they're not really saying anything during the course of the movie. I came to this realization early on when there were long stretches of down time on multiple occasions. When ever it appeared like Savages was about to get going, somebody appeared to hit the pause button and we go right back to feeling nothing for the characters.
Another thing that's supposed to be very important in this movie is the action and they are lacking in that area as well. The action isn't lacking because it's bad, it's lacking because it doesn't happen as frequently as it should have. There's only about three or four action scenes in Savages that I can remember. It could have been more than that, but I honestly don't think there were. It doesn't matter anyway, because the scenes are so short and spread out over the course of the movie, they don't have much time to have an impact.
The acting is clearly the best part of Savages and it might be the only above average thing about it. I think all of the actors performed well, but Benicio Del Toro and John Travolta are the two best. I guess you can say that they stole the show, because they had two of the most lively and personable characters in the film along with Salma Hayek who wasn't that far behind them in terms of performance. It was actually fun watching those guys in action and I wish they would have been given more to do.
Savages had to lean on the actors for the entire film. They had to depend on them so much, because there aren't a substantial amount of good qualities in the movie outside of them. If it wasn't for the strong performances by these actors, this would have been a complete waste of time and it's not that good to begin with.
Savages is a wild and crazy movie without any of the wild and crazy elements actually being included. They sucker you in by pretending that there's going to be this outrageous tale with all types of insanity lying in wait, but when you get there you'll see that it's nothing that you haven't seen already from movies that do it better. If you want to watch a recent movie about a Mexican drug cartel, you'll be better off watching Miss Bala or something along those lines. Savages is not a terrible movie, it's just not that good nor is it worth your time.
The search for a good movie continues for Taylor Kitsch. In 2012 alone he's now tried provocative types, big budget types and he even hooked up with Disney, but nothing seems to workout for the dude. Maybe he'll catch on to something that will work for him soon, but I also hope I can say that about Oliver Stone. He looks to be a shell of his former self when it comes to directing. His ability may be in there somewhere, but it hasn't shown up in seemingly forever.
Director: Oliver Stone
Benicio Del Toro
Film Length: 129 minutes
Release Date: July 6, 2012
Distributor: Universal Pictures