Bad Boys for Life
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Absolutely riveting thriller/character study about a bitter and disillusioned detective (a terrific Robert Ryan) who, after losing his temper one too many times on suspects due to non-stop exposure to the dregs of humanity, is sent to a small mountain town to investigate the murder of a young girl, and soon becomes involved with the killer's blind sister, played by the always brilliant Ida Lupino.
Director Nicholas Ray was never a filmmaker to trapped by a genre - just look at a film like Johnny Guitar - is it a western? Is it a musical? Is it an action picture?. Though many may try and label this as "film noir" (the first portion of the picture does have a noir setting and characters, but the film as a whole does not fall into a tried-and-true noir category) it is really so much more - a character study of a nearly broken man, a crime thriller, a competent examination of the effects of society on an individual (a theme that director Ray would further explore in Rebel Without a Cause).
Decent if not entirely successful Spaghetti Western which has Alex Cord as an outlaw looking to go straight in the town of Escondido which offers fifty dollars and amnesty for past criminal deeds. Of course there are many dangers along the way.
Nicely directed by Franco Giraldi, who stages some terrific action scenes.
Beware of the cut version which runs 98 minutes as opposed to the full-length version which runs 118 minutes.
The title pretty much says it all.
Enjoyable Saturday matinee fun. What the story lacks, director Jon Favreau makes up for with his able flair for directing action, but the film's strong-suit is it's cast. Daniel Craig plays the tight-jawed, stoic hero role to the hilt, Harrison Ford is always a welcome presence and the roster of supporting cast-members, including always reliable talent like Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano and Olivia Wilde as well as seasoned genre stalwarts like Clancy Brown (THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI: ACROSS THE EIGHTH DIMENSION, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, HIGHLANDER) and Keith Carradine (NASHVILLE, THE LONG RIDERS, THIEVES LIKE US) all give strong performances, creating memorable and very likeable characters.
One of the most popular series in cinema (and literature) finally comes to an end.
As usual, the visual design of the picture is terrific and the effects are top-notch, but the script (again by Steve Kloves) is a mess. Like all the films in the series, they seem to be written only for those who have read the books. There is no natural flow to the plot or any sort of logical structuring, and once again "The Deathly Hallows", of the film's title, are hardly even mentioned.
As I have stated in the past, I really think these films should have been made once all the books had been published; they should have been animated with traditional hand-drawn cels (director Ralph Bakshi's rotoscoping style that he employed for his films LORD OF THE RINGS, FIRE & ICE, and AMERICAN POP, would be ideally suited for these films), and written by a writer other than the bland Kloves better-suited for this type of story.
Interesting, if not all-together successful revisionist western about a young boy (Gary Grimes) who, aspiring to be a cowboy, joins a cattle drive to Colorado, but soon realizes, following one hardship after the other, that his romanticized notion of the lone cattleman is pure fantasy.
Interesting side note: this is the first Executive Producer screen credit for Jerry Bruckheimer who would go on to be one of the most successful producers in Hollywood, overseeing such films as BEVERLY HILLS COP and TOP GUN (with former partner, the late Don Simpson) to the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN series.