Film Review: Savages

Savages for me was a confusing mess of a movie. Don’t confuse it with the 2007 movie The Savages. Too many people in Savages and not enough meaty stories to make it interesting. Rather like a cheap sausage roll, where you only get a finger of pork and the rest is hard chewy pastry.

I think it’s always asking for trouble when you have too many things going on at once. The presence of John Travolta can’t save this howler. At no time were any of the characters warm or likeable. The dark tone of the movie was present in practically everything. Variety is the spice of life, and tossing all your eggs in one basket never works. The film needed something different.

Also I couldn’t really get behind the main trio, as they were growing drugs. Waging a war against a big cartel who wanted them in its ranks. Salma Hayek played the head of the cartel but wasn’t given any scope but to play it other than to standard format. Her brutal enforcer was never given an overview as to why he was like that. So it didn’t work.

So as they were both villains – who would you want to win? Would you watch a movie with The Joker and The Penguin just fighting it out with each other? No Batman to stop them, just all fighting??? Who would be right?

Now that may be black and white but movies involving drugs or crime should not be portraying them in a positive light, with a rampant Robin Hood theme as if independent operations are fine if you’re helping people and it’s the big cartels that are wrong.

I saw no real reason as to why they were growing marijuana, both had good jobs before. Ben (Aaron Taylor Johnson) was supposed to be a Buddhist I think? People who believe in God wouldn’t be growing drugs. They would be either racked with guilt, evil or plain mad if they were still actively religious because drugs are bad. You can’t have it both ways. Chon (Taylor Kitsch) was supposed to be an ex-SEAL navy guy so to me his going into a drug farm lacked any real originality. Kitsch was just happy showing off his muscles. Parade all you want son, I can still see you can’t act!

Also when he called his army buddies to help fight the cartel, it still left out how so many soldiers would be able to come over to fight. Also why they would they fight to supply drugs? Were they current or ex-members?

If they still in the army such a reason to risk vital soldiers lives would surely need the approval of a bigger boss? That operation would never be sanctioned. You wouldn’t just be able to call the army like you can call pest control to sort out a bug problem.
If they were ex-members, then its stereotyping that they would all be criminals who don’t give a damn. Not everyone is on the take, although the director seems to think so.

There was no dynamic to the background to the characters of how they came to run this drug farm. It lacked a history and maybe that would have explained things a bit. But it was presented as an up and running business. And when it went to ‘just to screw the cartel’ that was an invalid reason and then things went nonsense. (Even Robin Hood had a good reason for breaking the law. He didn’t do it just to ‘slap the Sheriff of Nottingham’.)

The main girl Ophelia (Gossip Girl Blake Lively) was just there as eye candy and wasn’t given anything major. It was a shame. In typical fashion she gets kidnapped. If I was Blake I’d have run a mile from this both hands waving in the air, screaming as loud as I could!

It was played as if it growing dope was a valid job career and the sole option. Although Ben wanted to use the money to get cleaner water, this wasn’t explored deeply so you didn’t see just how bad things were for the locals. Were they on borrowed time or something? In fact once they were fighting the cartel, this storyline fell right out of the loop. It was no longer the main reason and its importance was forgotten. How else could he have helped them? Surely Chon could’ve called his army buddies over to build a well to get clean water?

If they had to do something or were forced by circumstance, then this was omitted and this movie needed valid reasons to work. The violence was cruel and unnecessary, like shock tactics.

Travolta as a crooked cop just added another unnecessary storyline. I just could not get my head round why they should be fighting the cartel, both were doing wrong.

1/10 from me. Two hours of absolute trite! I can only hope this doesn’t spawn a sequel!

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About Erzi Paris

Erzi Paris lives in London and loves writing, going to the theatre and watching films. Always abreast of celebrity news, his biggest hope is to be a reporter. He likes keep-fit too. His favourite authors are Michael Crichton, JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins and Rosalind Miles.
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