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As the story centerpiece "O" is the glue that holds things together. She's also the chief weed sampler. The story suggests that this relationship may be a bit more than two boys liking a girl but that question is never quite answered. Hmm. All is well until they get an "invitation" to join a powerful Mexican cartel headed by Elena (Salma Hayek). Saying no is not a good idea, as the guys are exposed to the grisly beheadings of cartel foes. Elena and her California chieftain (an iniquitous Benicio Del Toro) need the secret to the THC-rich strain of pot so they kidnap poor "O" on the eve of trio's departure to a secret location in Indonesia.
Here is Elena's deal. She gets 30% of the revenue, $13 million up front and they keep "O" under wraps for 1 year. After that, the business venture ends. Naturally Ben and Chon don't like the arrangement. Especially Chon who realizes, the ruse will never end. Added to the fun is John Travolta who plays a senior DEA agent. He is on the take from Ben and Chon and may be playing all sides. Stone gets strong performances from his cast in this savage thriller. I can't help but wonder however why Stone decided to go with two endings. The first one was fine.
I left the theater wanting to ask for my money back. It was very clear that Stone phoned this one in. The majority of the dark humor, that was so prevalent in the book, has been erased from the movie. A perfect example of this is the exclusion of O's mother from the movie. That character is wonderfully amusing and gave great insight into the character of O. The one exception to this is John Travolta as Ben and Chan's FBI contact. He turns in a wonderfully wacky and entertaining performance that I feel is on par with his Pulp Fiction turn. Travolta seems to be the only one who looked at the source material.
I also have to address the ending. There has never been a more blatant example of a studio forcing a director to change an ending. It is weird awkward and just plain embarrassing. What happened to the Oliver Stone who directed Natural Born Killers? This material was in desperate need of that edge and humor. Does Stone not have final cut approval? I certainly hope he did not have it on this piece of junk. Read the book and don't waste your time on the movie.
As fate would have it, the evil Mexican cartel wants to combine businesses. Our guys tell them, they want out, and they can have the whole thing. The Mexicans didn't like that answer. In order to ensure cooperation the cartel kidnaps Ophelia as the guys form a rescue plan. Ben must quickly learn to kill without the aid of any training or a music montage. Our heroes must walk a fine line between disrupting the cartel while working for them.
I liked Oliver Stone more when he made his historical films with a "truthiness" aspect to them. Now he thinks he is Tarantino. The film was certainly watchable and made very well. I believe it was beneath Stone to have done the film. The ending I thought was a mess and needed better developing...but at the same time if Tarantino did it, it would be genius. This is a love it or hate it type of film. I will take the middle ground.
PARENTAL GUIDE: F-bombs, sex, nudity, brief rape, torture.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is Oliver Stone collecting a paycheck. A serviceable enough adaptation of an otherwise excellent novel. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Matt S.
A great movie start to finish. Highly recommended action movie
Writing, directing, acting, editing all top tier. Absolutely nothing not to like!Published 20 days ago by Rex Nichols