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Savages (DQ)


Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch, Shea Whigham

Director: Oliver Stone

Is this a comedy, albeit a bloodsoaked one? It's as hard to take any of these characters seriously as it is to fathom whether director Stone intends us to do so. There are villains straight out of a 1960s' Batman TV programme, and dialogue to match, that makes us at first laugh nervously, but then outright. And, to cap it all, the ending, however silly, proves not to be the ending at all, as figures of menace turn into pussycats concerned for their families.

Iraq war veteran Chon (Kitsch) and his stoner buddy Ben (Johnson) live a fairly idyllic existence at their cannabis farm with their shared girlfriend O (Lively), controlling the local weed trade. But then a South American cartel muscles in, takes umbrage after the boys ask for 24 hours to consider their offer of an opt-in (which seems reasonable: they only want 20 per cent) and kidnaps the girl to bring the boys to heel.

The bad guys are led by 'La Reine Elena' (Hayek in full decolletée mode, and decked out to look like Cleopatra) and her sadistic enforcer, Lado (Del Toro), who finally proves as droopy as his moustache. Neither actor seems able to decide whether to take all this seriously, and, with such unspeakable dialogue as 'I have orgasms, he has wargasms', who can blame them? Very odd all round.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
129 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 3, Swearing 2.

Review date: 17 Sep 2012