The Limey Reviews
Terence Stamp stars as WIlson, the titular character, who is a recently released career criminal who travels to Los Angeles to investigate the death of his estranged daughter, whom he is told died of mysterious circumstances. Besides being about a man who is out for straight up vengeance, and really not much more, it also touches upon the divide between old school criminals like Wilson, and their modern day counterparts.
The film is pretty clear cut, and Soderbergh is maybe one of the few directors who can really get away with such a basic, single minded premise with not much else backing it up. Even though the film doesn't have much depth to it, it oozes style, mood, and tone, and is really rather mesmerizing.
I also liked how the film is a meeting of two titans of 60s cinema, with the British Stamp going up against America's Peter Fonda as the shady record producer Valentine who was involved with Wilson's daughter, and is thus the prime suspect in her "accidental" death. Both are amazing, but this is easily Stamp's film through and through, and a real showcase for him. Luis Guzman is pretty terrific as Ed, an acquaintance of Wilson's daughter, and perhaps the only person he can trust. He's pretty much the guiding light here, as he;s the one who contacted Wilson about his daughter, and provides him basically everything he needs to complete his quest. Barry Newman is also pretty awesome as Avery, Valentine's chief of security. Nicky Katt also makes a brief appearance as a hitman associated with Avery, but he could have been used a little more. He's good for how much we get him, though.
Being a Soderbergh film, it's got a great amount of style, slick production values, and is shot masterfully. Some of the proceedings get rather dark and intense, but thankfully there's a nice undercurrent of sly humor. One of the coolest things going on here is the creative integration of footage from an old Stamp film from the 60s as bits of flashback sequences.
This really isn't a deep film, and while it is pretty cut and dried, and just a variation on a theme, it's somehow gets a pass because Soderbergh just has this touch that elevates even the most unoriginal concept into something fresh and entertaining.
Very cool revenge movie, with a distinct editing style.
Terence Stamp, best known as General Zod from Superman II, stars as Wilson, a career criminal, recently released from jail, and has come to America to find out why his daughter has died, believing it to be more than an accident. Stamp is great as an old man who has done his share of things in the past and is gonna do some more things before his time is up.
Wilson: Can't be too careful nowadays, y'know? Lot of "tea leaves" about, know what I mean?
Warehouse Foreman: Excuse me?
Wilson: Tea leaves... thieves.
The film also plays up his cockney accent, which, to me, is all kinds of cool.
Ed: Do you understand half the shit he says?
Elaine: No, but I know what he means.
Peter Fonda is also here as Stamp's opposite and it's fun to see his reactions to this situations. He and his business are not used to dealing with this kind of stuff, so their reactions all seem very natural and real.
The film also stars Luis Guzman as a friend of Wilson's daughter, who helps Wilson out, Barry Newman as Fonda's security adviser, Leslie Ann Warren as another former friend of Wilson's daughter, and Nicky Katt as a hitman.
I pointed out the editing earlier, and it really elevates a standard revenge plot into a more cinematically entertaining experience. Director Stephen Soderbergh once again tries to experiment with his film for the better. It can be too different for some, but once you get into it, you can really enjoy it more.
The soundtrack is also very classy and cool, with some classic rock mixed with a dark instrumental beat. There are also flashback scenes, using footage from one of Terence Stamp's earlier movies that blend very well into this movie, and that's pretty neat.
The story is also made better by both Stamp and Fonda being given a number of moments to reflect on their lives and how they have developed into what they are currently, based on better times they have had in the past.
Its a simple story made better by its style and actors.
Wilson: Bide your time. That's what prison teaches you, if nothing else. Bide your time, and everything becomes clear, and you can act accordingly.
VERDICT: Watchable but not brillient
The Limey is basically about a Englishman who goes to Los Angeles to avenge his daughter. It reminisces of Taken in which you got an old man wanting revenge, except Terence Stamp is not as well trained in the art of killing. Though he does make his presence well known with his coolness and showcasing no sign of sympathy for killing. Stamp might not kill as much as Neeson, but he certainly fun to watch. Trust me when I say that Terence Stamp is more entertaining killing a few people than Steven Seagal killing dozens of henchmen. He also looks cool doing it despite the fact the movie never shows us. The plot is well put together and the editing gives it a cool style and sometimes plays with your head. There certainly enough twist and smart writing to keep you engage, but familiarization with these kind of movies might hurt the experience for some. It's still nonetheless an exciting thriller with an emotional edge with some good humor sometime lacking from these kind of films. Nearly everything overshadows the plot, the cast which is well put together are all very memorable in their roles. The cinematography at times is amazing with a cool soundtrack. This is a thriller done right, might be a little slow for some, but it's a great watch.
The Limey is a great film by director Steven Soderbergh who got me curious about his other films. Sure this kind of movie has been done before, but this one benefits from a great production and cast that helps stand above from others like it.
TELL 'EM I'M COMIN' !!