Assault On Wall Street Reviews

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Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ February 20, 2014
When it comes to notorious German director Uwe Boll, many are still waiting for what could be the man's first genuinely good movie. The man has been prolific over the past ten years but sure-fire candidates for First Good Film, like Max Schmelling or Attack on Darfur, inevitably have some tragic flaw or approach that places them back in mediocrity, the company of many of Boll's other movies. After reviewing more Boll films than a human should be allowed to willingly, I feel like I've been beaten down enough that when I find something that genuinely works, be it an actor or a sequence or plot turn, that I should be just as vocal as with the contingent of failure. So allow me to refreshingly applaud Boll for Assault on Wall Street, on coming up with a topic and a story structure that... actually... works. It not just works, it succeeds, and if a more polished professional screenwriter got a hold of this, I think it could actually impress the masses. If it weren't for the surprisingly effective war drama, Tunnel Rats, I'd say without a doubt that Assault on Wall Street is the best work of Boll's much-maligned career. And yet... it has just enough minor faults that hold it back.

Jim (Dominic Purcell) is a regular guy working as an armored security transport. His wife Rosie (Erin Karpluk) suffers from a rare tumor that requires an expensive series of injections to keep it at bay. Their insurance company won't pay, and so they have to rely on Jim's savings. Except those are gone as well. Jeremy Stancroft (John Heard) has ordered all his brokers to dump toxic assets, eliminating most investor savings but profiting the shareholders. Jim and Rosie are broke. Vowing vengeance, especially after some drastic decision-making by Rosie, Jim sets off to make the high-priced traders and corporate raiders on Wall Street feel the pain of what they have wrought.

The setup is concise and Boll does a nifty job of compounding Jim's problems and showing how all the industries are interconnected to put the squeeze on. Because of unscrupulous health insurers, his wife's medical treatment, deemed experimental, is quite expensive and they've reached a cap. With the brokers pushing their clients assets into junk stocks, at the behest of the betters and for commissions, Jim loses his entire financial cushion. He hires a lawyer (Eric Roberts) but has to pay $10,000 just to retain him to fight the $60,000 penalty his broker says is owed. He goes into debt and refinances his skyrocketing mortgage (variable rate) to pay for his wife's treatments. His employer takes notice of his perilous situation and is uncomfortable with enlisting someone in deep financial woes with guarding money. He loses his job. The bank is poised to foreclose on the house. His wife won't get her treatments to save her life. All of this leads to a drastic and completely understood decision of desperation and sacrifice. Admittedly, Boll does a compelling job of connecting all the dots, making each new pitfall a result of the previous, each compounding the misery of Jim. It takes a little long to go through all these points, and I think Boll could have trimmed it down so that a key event happens at the Act One breakpoint, but I was flabbergasted that the man found a story structure that succeeds.

The second half of the film is Jim planning his vengeance, and after all of the callous movers and shakers have bled him dry, you're onboard for some sort of righteous payback. Boll takes on Wall Street and the healthcare industry (double the populist outrage). Jim as a character could be made much more compelling, but he's really serving as a symbol for how the forces are ganged up against the little guy, how the fix is in. When confronted, the big CEO of the brokerage barks that it's always the same old story, that the titans of industry were all crooks and manipulated the system to their advantage, and he's no different. In short, the little guy always loses.

What holds back Assault on Wall Street, beside the fact that the titular assault is reserved for the last fifteen minutes of the film, is its too slick ending and Boll's obvious transparency when it comes to his political message. After Jim suffers loss after loss, he puts together a plan pretty quickly, utilizing that Army training we've heard about. It's actually too easy with little complications that can't be solved in a David Fincher-style montage of death. It's a full 70 minutes before he takes out his first Wall Street fat cat, and that's just way too much dawdling. And then from there the climax involves Jim just going on a rampage in an office building, shooting several faceless employees who could very well be innocent for all we know. I think Boll is satisfied with a guilt-by-association catch-all for Jim's fury, but it would be more satisfying just from a payoff standpoint if we saw these people in villainous lights prior, kind of like what Saw 6 did with its insurance characters before letting them have it. The last thing we need in our populist screed is to worry that the wrong people were dispatched. And what kind of office building fails to evacuate after a confirmed shooter has attacked?

This storyline could have also worked in a Falling Down turn, where a man consumed with evening the scales of a system broken loses his moral bearing and lumps all guilty parties together and condemns them all. Perhaps it was meant to examine the slippery slope of vigilante justice and how this too can decay one's sense of self, sort of like what Jodie Foster went through in 2007's The Brave One. However, I don't think Boll was intending this direction because he's not very subtle about anything in the movie. Oftentimes the characters just become mouthpieces for ideological talking points: "We're busy busting some homeless guy when the real criminals are on Wall Street." The bad guys actually say, with no hint of self-awareness, "We all took a loss. When I told my wife we couldn't vacation in Barbados any longer..." It's all just a little too on-the-nose to remind you of the overall intent rather than the story. Therefore, I think Boll is just going for a sense of (misplaced?) justice in the end, in a ludicrous plan that somehow invalidates witnesses, forensic evidence, and security footage to pin the blame on someone else. It's too clever by half that it undercuts the final payoff. It gets even worse with the Batman-esque voice over to close out the film with a promise to all evildoers.

With such a tight focus on the plot, the acting is a marked step up from previous Boll outings. Purcell (TV's Prison Break, Killer Elite) doesn't exactly come across as a regular Joe but he has enough onscreen presence to pull off his character's anguish as well as the requisite badass stuff. And apparently Boll has become fond of him because Purcell is scheduled to appear in future Boll films. Karpluk, a Canadian actress best known for the TV show Being Erica, has a natural grace to her, forgoing big moments to concentrate on the gnawing guilt and concern her character feels. While she's a bit too willfully ignorant early on, Karpluk makes you care and provides whatever depth can be applied to Jim. I'm actually curious to see her comic skills since she has a face tailor-made for romantic comedies. Heard (Sharknado, Home Alone) doesn't seem to embrace his duplicitous CEO role with enough gusto, appearing to be annoyed when he should be menacing. This is not the kind of movie to hold back.

There are plenty of other Boll Players, including Edward Furlong (3 appearances), Lochlyn Munro (2 appearances), Tyron Leitso (5 appearances, also stars in Being Erica), Michael Eklund (8 appearances), Natassia Malthe (4 appearances), and the stalwarts of Clint Howard (6 appearances) and Michael Pare (13 appearances). It's been 13 years since Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight) last appearance in a Boll film. Most of these are blink-and-you'll-miss-them, but then there's Keith David (The Thing, Cloud Atlas) in a thankless role that didn't need to exist. But hey, I'll take Keith David in anything.

A welcome surprise, for the most part, Assault on Wall Street is a finely structured revenge tale with clear and precise plot points and a natural buildup. It's Boll on a soapbox and the naked transparency of his ire and populist messages limits the effectiveness of his storytelling, but you might not mind, especially if you are a person who has slogged through far less competent Boll ventures. There is a marked improvement in just about every facet of filming with this entry. It genuinely works, that is, until the pacing becomes lopsided and the end just reverts to celebratory action mode. A more professional writer could take this film and whip it into a crowd-pleasing populist thriller. It's got so much that works, and genuinely works well, that I feel like a buzzkill to keep harping on the elements that do not succeed. But if Boll wants to earn an undisputed victory, he's got to earn it without lowered standards. Assault on Wall Street is so tantalizingly close to being Boll's First Good Film but it doesn't capitalize.

Nate's Grade: C+
Super Reviewer
½ August 24, 2013
Director, Uwe Boll who has definitely established himself as one of the worst reviewed directors of all time, crafts one of his finer and more gripping films. It's a dramatic thriller about the financial system and the greed and corruption that goes with it. A powerfully effective, dark and ferocious thriller that packs a pure punch of gripping drama and explosive chaotic action. Dominic Purcell is outstanding, he gives a raw and intense performance about a man who goes the lengths to exact his own brand of justice and vengeance. The first half of the film does very well with the drama, it shows the lead character going through a rough time and showing he is doing what he can to make things right. The camaraderie between the actors is terrific, they have great chemistry and bring some sharp and great character development. It keeps your attention all the way through and to the explosive action-packed finish.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
½ May 17, 2013
Uwe Boll is notorious as being one of the worst filmmakers in the history of the medium. But with every filmmaker, he can direct a good film. He has proven himself in the past with Rampage, Seed and Tunnel Rats, three underrated films that really don't deserve the flack they have received. Boll can make a good film, and with Assault on Wall Street, he crafts his best film. This is clearly a personal film, one that Boll felt strongly about. I think that Uwe Boll is a director that can create something good when he works with his own ideas, and decides to tell his own ideas. This is a well crafted film that can surprise the most reluctant Boll hater. I enjoyed the film, thought the acting and directing were well done, and it a surprising picture by Uwe Boll. Boll has had a sketchy career, granted, but he can make a good movie that is entertaining. Assault on Wall Street is an accomplished film that makes you ask important questions and brings to light an important issue. The film works due to the strong performance of Dominic Purcell who really brings something unique to the screen. This film is Uwe Boll's finest picture, and of the films I've seen from him, he really gives this one his all and it proves to his harshest critics that he can make something watchable. The film doesn't deserve the flack it has received and with that said, Boll puts to light important issues that shouldn't be ignored. Assault on Wall Street has its flaws, but is definitely not as bad as what the mainstream critics have said. Sure there are aspects of the film that leave room for improvement, but overall Boll has crafted a highly engaging revenge drama that is worth seeing. With an effective cast, and interesting concept, Uwe Boll delivers the strongest film of his career, one that deserves to be seen.
Super Reviewer
½ December 10, 2013
Dominic Purcell leads the cast in Uwe Boll's timely political drama Assault on Wall Street. A blue collar security guard is pushed over the edge when an economic collapse destroys his life. The film does a fairly good job at character development; however it does get a little overdramatic at times. The pacing is also a bit of a problem, as it takes too long to get to the climatic shootout. Despite its production issues, Assault on Wall Street is an intriguing and provocative film.
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2013
Assault On Wall Street is nothing like you expect it to be, at least not until the last 15 minutes. Jim Baxford (Dominic Purcell) is a normal, hard working, family man, until his wife gets sick. Through a series of hardships Jim and his family go bankrupt, leading to an unspeakable act, that causes Jim to lose control. This film had all the makings of a terrific action movie, but that's not what we got. For over an hour, we watch the story of Jim's life slowly pass us by. What should have taken 25 minutes, takes up almost the entirety of the film, it was absolutely ridiculous! We meet Jim and his family, see what the issues are, and then, nothing for quite a while. Prison Break's Dominic Purcell stars in this thing and he is one of the best young action stars they could have gotten to star in this movie. It just really drives me crazy to see how obtuse the writers of these films can be. The lead character was cast, almost to perfection, while at the same time, you have a relatively good story to build upon, yet the film goes nowhere! By the time anything actually happened here, I was already fed up and disinterested. Assault On Wall Street looked like it was going to be a can't miss action/thriller. Instead, bad directing and perfectionist writers just completely destroy everything they have going for them and deliver a film that eventually becomes unwatchable.
PantaOz
Super Reviewer
July 29, 2013
I loved this movie for one reason: I wish I could do that! Assault on Wall Street is a Canadian film directed by the famous German Uwe Boll , whose failures never slowed him down... I will even say, that this one was actually pretty good!

The criticism of the capitalism and the system of theft were exposed through the story of Jim (Dominic Purcell) and Rosie (Erin Karpluk), who were both affected by the US economic crisis at the time when Rosie is sick. Their life turned upside down when they discovered that their broker invested all their funds into risky equity investments and they lost all their savings. Expensive medical care of his wife culminated in the seizure of their home and the loss of his job...

After the tragedy happened... Jim decides it is time to act! And he does... efficiently... and I think everyone in their life sometimes felt like Jim and wanted to act as him.

The tempo of the movie was almost perfect, acting wasn't bad either, characters were developed enough for the story to feel realistic and the camera work was very satisfactory. For a director with a bad reputation, Uwe Boll did a really good job!
February 13, 2014
Surprisingly good. I can't believe I'm actually giving a Uwe Boll film a decent rating, but this one is actually a decent film. Since this stars Dominic Purcell as its lead, I'd kind of like to think that this is the definitive end to Prison Break lol.
August 11, 2013
Not an action film. 95% heavy drama. Don't expect a action movie.

But aside from that it tells a story from a very limited perspective. He doesn't just go after the main "bad" guy he goes on a rampage. Really I could not identify with him as a hero vigilante, just a mass shooter loon.

Honestly if he had an objective, or a mission, that was more noble then revenge. Maybe it would have been a better story. But he didn't. It could have been done much better, the idea for a movie like this is solid, this just had horrible execution of a good idea. (main actor was good, that is why I gave it two stars. He did a good job with a horrible story.)
June 20, 2015
Not certain why Uwe Boll gets such a bad rap. His movies, while not great or important films, are mostly watchable and to be enjoyed for their low brain usage entertainment charms. Here Dominic Purcell, a security worker at a Brinks-like company, gets run through the mill while losing his fortune, his house and his wife (who is ill and commits suicide instead of adding more to the bills). He's gotta take it out on someone. Watch out Wall Street tycoons. Personally, I thought he should have done his attorney too.
May 30, 2015
very good film about the corruption of American Capitalism...Hurray for a hero.
May 7, 2015
At last, a movie where the good guy wins.
½ December 23, 2014
Tries to be smart by throwing in a core concept of economics and political stuff. Ends up being a slow, stupid drama with a few bullets in the end.
September 22, 2014
what the hell is wrong with you people. This is the only story that actually calls a spade a spade, and a fantastic job was done from not just an acting standpoint but it took a German guy to tell the story of how you American sheep got fucked by the government and the bankers and nobody , to this day, has done anything about it!
August 17, 2014
I almost threw up with their terrible camera movements....
½ August 15, 2014
Wow, a good Uwe Boll film. Wouldn't even need a full set of fingers to count those. That changed though with Assault on Wall Street. A tight, despite undemanding, vigilante revenge fantasy.

Admittedly, my expectations were low, but i was pulled back by how well Boll established sympathy for the titular character Jim. He truly had nothing left when he decided to go over the deep end and even though a little more character development would've been nice, Boll and Purcell deliver a convincing enough portrayal of a man with nothing to lose that the dramatic thinness of the narrative doesn't drag the film down entirely. It also didn't skate round the trader jargon either. Some scenes were reminiscent of Wolf of Wall Street the speed the vocabulary was passing over my head.

Overall, most impressive was how this film suffered from not one retard moment i found. Its unambitious yes, but not offensively so. This film is quite well made. Pacing is top notch, acting is all round above average, plot suffers near to no holes and squibs and Gun SFX are impressively weighty.

A well crafted build up with a great payoff. No doubt, one of the best Direct to DVD titles of this year.
July 30, 2014
Best movie I have seen all year!!!
July 12, 2014
Assault on Wall Street is a slow movie. Didn't like it at all

2 Stars!
July 9, 2014
This movie was just OK. In other words, don't bother watching it. The cast only had 3 people in I actually knew: Edward Furlong, the dad from There's Something about Mary, and the dad from Home Alone.
June 9, 2014
It's not often I've been this disappointed in a movie.
June 9, 2014
I want second assault on wall street!!! I liked very much!!!
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