Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Movie #188: Get Carter

Get Carter is a remake of a 1971 Michael Caine action/grindhouse movie (I say that based on the trailer). This version stars Sylvester Stallone, Rhona Mitra, Rachael Leigh Cook, Mickey Rourke, Alan Cumming, Miranda Richardson and Sir Michael Caine himself.

Carter (Stallone) is a Vegas legbreaker who returns home to Seattle for his brother's funeral. Supposedly, little brother died in a drunk driving accident, but Carter is uncertain and suspects foul play. He discovers that his brother had a mistress (Mitra) and that his boss (Caine) was involved with a porn tycoon (Rourke) who was using a millionaire computer mogul (Cumming) for tech and support...oy...

This movie is really, really busy. It turns out what actually happened was that Carter's niece (Cook) was drugged and raped, all on camera, by...some guy that worked for Caine's character, I think? And everyone's trying to get the disc with the footage back, but Mitra gives it to Carter's brother, who then threatens to go the police, so they kill him. And Carter exacts bloody revenge!

I was less than thrilled with this movie. It's so 90s it hurts. Jump cuts, slow-mo, sped-up footage, really dated clothes and music. The plot isn't dense, it's just tangled, and then it turns out to be really simplistic and bleak. You can do that with some skill (see also Chinatown and LA Confidential), but this wasn't it.

And it's not Stallone's fault, or indeed any of the cast. The movie is actually really well-acted. Stallone manages to convey a tough guy with a sense of loyalty that he's still figuring out, but without much of a sense of morality. Cook is nicely distant, then disarmed, as Carter's niece, and the scene where she talks about the rape and Carter comforts her is actually pretty amazing, acting-wise, because it's nicely understated but believable. Mitra doesn't have much to do, but what she does, she does well. Caine is pleasantly hammy.

Cumming is playing a rich guy who's trying to be a tough guy and getting out of his depth, and his character felt a little inconsistent to me. Rourke is a badass, and he works as a badass.

But really, what ruins this movie is the direction. All the weird camera tricks, the dialog that we don't quite hear or understand, and the bizarre stops and starts that the plot takes. The movie gears up like we're going to see a Man on Fire-style bloodbath at the end, but then there's a car chase and a good fight scene, but it's all done with too much pondering in between. I dunno, it looks like it was better than the original (which looked fucking terrible, from the trailer), but I'm in no hurry to see this one again.

My Grade: C-
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: Get Shorty