Archive for Benjamin Bratt

Coco

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.

What people are saying:

“At every imaginative juncture, the filmmakers (the screenplay is credited to Pixar veteran Molina and Matthew Aldrich) create a richly woven tapestry of comprehensively researched storytelling, fully dimensional characters, clever touches both tender and amusingly macabre, and vivid, beautifully textured visuals” 4 stars

“None of Coco‘s few flaws can fatally undermine the film because it is, most of all, a smart and enduring piece of storytelling with a satisfyingly twisting narrative and richly complex theme. ” 4 stars

Cocos rich visual pleasures are matched by a thoughtful narrative that takes a family-friendly—and deeply affecting—approach to questions of culture, family, life, and death” 5 stars

“The topic this movie handles is unconventional, but it doesn’t take away from the humour, the fun and the insanity that we come to expect from Pixar. They balanced the topic well and respectfully to the culture the topic relates to. Truly one of the best movies in it’s class.” 5 stars

“Once again, leave it to a kid flick to show the adults how to tackle a film about inclusiveness, acculturation and celebrating heritage. Young Miguel Rivera disobeys his family’s perplexing ban on music to pursue his dream of becoming an accomplished, strumming virtuoso. Pixar strikes tear-jerking gold with its first lead Latino character and a story that resonates in a climate where Dreamers face unknown, frightful futures and accepting those with different beliefs and backgrounds still proves a challenge.” 3 1/2 stars

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Miss Congeniality

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Unpolished and disheveled, FBI agent Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) needs a serious makeover before going undercover as a Miss United States beauty pageant contestant to catch a psychopathic terrorist who’s threatened to blow up the proceedings. A beauty consultant (Michael Caine) is hired to transform Hart from “Dirty Harriet” into a beauty queen — with hilarious and surprisingly effective results, much to her partner’s (Benjamin Bratt) shock.

What people are saying:

“…a standard-issue fish-out-of-water comedy which seems happily, deliberately second-rate, as if its ideal audience consisted of weary airline passengers” 3 stars

“Sandra Bullock (who also produces) takes a lame idea of a script, splashes her considerable allure all over it, and comes away with an amiable, light-hearted holiday charmer.” 4 stars

“Sandra Bullock does a super job as Gracie, the clumsy, uncouth FBI agent who must stop a sinister plot at the USA beauty pagent. Candice Bergen and William Shatner are really good in their roles as the hosts of the pagent. Michael Caine gives a wonderful performance as the guy who has to remake Gracie into a graceful contestant. Funny and entertaining!” 5 stars

“Miss Congeniality is a passable and enjoyable film that isn’t too clever but isn’t too stupid either. I hated the first part of the film when Bullock is a tom-boy purely because of the way they portray it. The opening scene with her as a child was unnecessary and ridiculous. The fact that the director tries to shove the message down our throats that she’s a tom-boy drives me insane. It’s so lazy, from listening to rap music while boxing to eating ice cream like a pig, there’s just no need for it. We get it, alright? The film picks up when Michael Caine is introduced and it becomes much more enjoyable, particularly with the banter and subtle war of dominance between the two. I also thought the lighting was very clever, dark when Bullock is ugly but much lighter and happier after her makeover. The competition itself was ok and the way it ended was, of course corny, and a bit contradicting to the central believes of the character but this film is ok and that’s it.” 2 1/2 stars

“This is a family favourite, we’ve seen it so many times and it never gets old, absolutely hilarious, Sandra Bullock is awesome. Her snorting laugh, the way she’s always falling over and the sarcastic one liners are all what makes this a great comedy. Michael Caine, William Shatner and Heather Burns deliver some laugh out loud moments too. The highlight of this film is probably when Bullock goes from total rundown FBI officer to a superhot model undercover, funniest transition I’ve seen in a film, this is a must watch, it’s comedy gold.” 4 1/2 stars

Justice League: Gods and Monsters

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In an alternative history Zod is Superman’s father, Batman is a vampiric Man-Bat, and Wonder Woman is the child of Ares, God of War. When these dark heroes form an alliance, the question everyone asks is will they save the world, or rule it?

What people are saying:

“Another solid entry in the DCU line, Justice League: Gods and Monsters works best as an entrée into what should be a fascinating and highly entertaining series of its own.” 4 stars

“I did not like anything about this film. I’m not a comics book expert but have read DC comics growing up. I viewed this expecting to see the classic justice league or at least a re-boot of the characters. Instead I saw completely different characters I’ve never seen before & didn’t understand why. There was no explanation or mystery that unfolded it was simply confusing & boring because these versions of the classic Batman, super woman, super man just weren’t interesting at all. If your a die hard fan I’m guessing you would like this film if your only familiar with the main story lines for these characters you’ll probably be disappointed, even though the actors seem to do well with what they were given.” 1 star

“This wasn’t as bad as I was lead to believe. I kinda dug the skewed take on the DC trio. Superman (Son of Zod & Lara El), Wonder Woman (New God grand-daughter of Highfather). and Batman (Kirk Langstrom, a vampire created by science) take on a warped William Magnus & his Metal Men. It was pretty damn good.” 3 stars

“Wow! Dark, disturbing alternate universe “superhero” movie that is definitely not for kids. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are all evil, calculating, violent arms of the federal government and not in the Bizarro way but something completely different. The Justice League is a sinister monument in the middle of the city. Eerie. This unholy alliance is tasked with solving a mystery when a number of key scientists are killed in spectacular ways. Not just any scientists but those that would have been Antman, Ironman and Dr. Freeze in the normal universe. I’ve always wondered in the back of my mind what would happen if a true superhero were to live amongst us. Would they want to dominate us? Shepherd us? Both scenarios are disturbing and this movie explores those options in dramatic and sometimes bloody detail. Lex Luthor said it best, “Unassailable power is never to be trusted.” Dark, compelling, violent – highly recommended for those who’d like a different take on superheros.” 5 stars

“I love pretty much all the animated hero shows that matter, and I was riveted for this. Is it good? I dunno, but I LOVED it. Too much blood and violence? I’m a grown man, I can take it. Honestly, the whole “nobody ever dies” idea is a bit of a stretch. When a building is destroyed, I’m going to bet at least one person doesn’t make it out alive. In a time of constant remakes and reboots, this is a refreshing and well-executed original story line set in an alternate universe. Not for the kids, but if this is what WB Animation is up to, I say “more, please.” 5 stars

Ride Along 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this riotous sequel to Ride Along, hardboiled cop James Payton is again riding with the panic-prone Ben Barber as the pair attempts to solve a case that takes them to the sun-drenched shores of Miami.

What people are saying:

“Ride Along 2 – propelled by an unintelligent, predictable story line and enough gunplay and explosions to eradicate a small nation – is good for a few belly laughs. But not much more.” 2 stars

“This movie is okay its just not very funny and its a bit cheesy and corny. The plot of the movie is very predictable also and the ending of the movie is not very dramatic or exciting. The first one was definitely better. However, this is the perfect movie for to throw on in the background of a movie or to get a date to come over and hangout” 3 stars

“Slightly better than the first one. Ice Cubes’s perpetual snarling is boring and Hart’s yapping is often irritating but the script and story are marginally improved. Olivia Munn shows a few flashes of comedic potential when she channels her geekness like from her Attack of the Show days.” 3 stars

“Petty much the same as the first one Kevin Hart carrying the movie with a few little chuckles now and them, and a crappy forgettable story what should be simple. But it does have a pretty fun sound track.” 2 1/2 stars

“It’s a fun movie and does what it’s supposed to do; and that’s to make us laugh. Someone wrote that of all the movies Will Ferrell has been in, this movie he didn’t turn off. Well, Will is not in this movie. I don’t know if the RA movie series is going to go to a third and fourth, a la Lethal Weapon,but I can see it happening. Of course, Ben gets married in this movie, so I guess #3 & #4 would show his kids (of course, he’ll have to have kids). Don’t analyze this movie too much or you’ll mess up your acceptance of the plot lines.” 3 stars

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After Flint Lockwood and his friends save the world from the food storm in the first film, super-inventor Chester V, the CEO of Live Corp, is tasked to clean the island. He relocates Flint, his friends, and the citizens of Swallow Falls to San Franjose, California. Unbeknownst to Flint, the FLDSMDFR survived the explosion and landed in the center of the island, and Chester is determined to find it. Chester invites Flint, his biggest fan, to work at Live Corp, where he meets Chester’s assistant Barb, a talking orangutan with human intelligence. Six months later, Flint humiliates himself during a promotion ceremony when his invention “Party-In-A-Box” explodes. Meanwhile, Chester is informed that his search-parties on the island have been attacked by monstrous cheeseburgers which are learning how to swim. Fearing the world’s inevitable doom, Chester tasks Flint to find the FLDSMDFR and destroy it once and for all. Despite Chester’s demands to keep the mission classified, Flint recruits his girlfriend, meteorologist Sam Sparks; her cameraman Manny; police officer Earl Devereaux; Steve, a monkey who communicates via a device on his head; and “Chicken” Brent. Much to Flint’s dismay, his father Tim joins the crew and they travel to Swallow Falls on his fishing boat.

Upon arriving back at Swallow Falls, they notice that a jungle-like environment has overgrown the island. Tim stays behind while Flint and the others investigate, finding a vast habitat of living food animals. Tim, searching for food at his abandoned tackle shop, encounters a family of humanoid pickles and bonds with them by fishing. Chester discovers that Flint allowed his friends to join him on the mission, so Chester travels to the island with Barb, chagrined and determined to separate them. After escaping a Tacodile attack, Sam notices that the foodimal was protecting its family, and begins to suspect Chester is up to no good. Flint finds his former lab and invents a device that can track the FLDSMDFR. Sam attempts to convince Flint to spare the foodimals, but Flint is intent on making Chester proud. Sam leaves in anger, and Flint’s other companions go with her (including Steve). In the jungle, Sam proves that the foodimals mean no harm by taming a Cheespider. Upon realizing Chester’s intentions, the group is then ambushed by Live Corp employees.

Flint finds the FLDSMDFR, but notices a family of cute marshmallows and becomes hesitant to destroy the machine. Chester immediately seizes control of the FLDSMDFR and announces his plot to make his updated line of food bars out of the foodimals. A crushed Flint is knocked into the river but rescued by the marshmallows. Flint is taken to his father, and they and the foodimals all work together to allow Flint to infiltrate the Live Corp building that is under construction on the island. Flint frees the trapped foodimals and confronts Chester, who threatens to make food bars out of his friends. Chester makes several holograms of himself to overwhelm Flint, but Flint uses the “Party-In-A-Box” to expose the real Chester. An army of foodimals arrive and Flint’s friends are freed by Barb, who had a change of heart. Chester tries to make off with the FLDSMDFR, but is eaten by a Cheespider. With the island safe from Chester and with Live Corp destroyed, Flint returns the FLDSMDFR to its place and the foodimals continue to live in peace as more are born. The film ends with Flint fishing with his father for the first time, finding it enjoyable. During a post-credits scene, Barb reveals to have a crush on Steve

REVIEW:

According to my friends on Facebook, this apparently was the weekend to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Many of them are watching it as I type these words. For those of you that aren’t cool enough (Ha Ha!) to be watching this today, I hope my words will convince you to go check this out.

What is this about?

Inventor Flint Lockwood is forced to leave his new dream job when he discovers his notorious machine is still running — and is pumping out mutant food beasts! Now, he must battle creatures including shrimpanzees, tacodiles and jellyfish sandwiches.

What did I like?

Food. The design of these food creatures is just stunning. Your breath will be taken away when the camera pulls back and you see the majesty of them all. Think back to the first time you see the Brontosaurus in Jurassic Park. It is a similar feeling (and scene). Also, the simplistic creativity and puns were quite entertaining.

Continuation. So many sequels take place an unspecified time after their predecessor. This flick doesn’t waste time. It literally picks up where Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs left off (even if it has been 4 years since the original). This makes for a continuation that very few seem to want to take a chance on. The only other sequel that I can think of that does picks up right after the end of the first film are the Back to the Future sequels.

Character design. The design of the new characters, such as Chester V is amazing. The fluidity in which he moves with is very rubbery. I was thinking of some of the characters from Samurai Jack or others by Genndy Tartakovsky. I’ve already mentioned the food, but I have to brink up the cuteness of Barry the Strawberry. As the film goes on, this little guy gets cuter, especially when he’s becomes more than just a talking strawberry. There are also the pickles that give Flint’s dad a reason to be in this film. Each has their own personality and design. My favorite is the one that looks like he should be some sort of mad scientist.

What didn’t I like?

Replacement. For some reason, Mr. T. didn’t reprise his character Earl the cop. I don’t really know why he didn’t, so I won’t jump on his case about that. However, Terry Crews, who does his own thing, isn’t a replacement. In a way, I’m glad he didn’t try to do a Mr. T. impression, but at the same time I kind of wish he would have, just so that we know that he was the same character. With Crews, they tried to make him the same Officer Earl from the first film, but it just didn’t work.

Falling into the trap. I really hate to say this, but this film falls into the typical traps kids films fall into these days. Use of bright colors, loud music, etc. For the effect this film is going for, some of that works, but there comes a point where it just seems to lost its originality and is just following a formula. Why couldn’t it start a new formula?

Divide and conquer. For some reason, part of Chester V’s plan involves him and his assistant, and apelike creature that could have just as well been an annoying little kid, trying to get Flint away from his compatriots, especially Sam Sparks. Knowing how this film ends, I’m still wondering why they just didn’t kidnap them in the first place, rather than trying to divide and conquer, which obviously wasn’t an effective plot.

I get asked all the time about good family animated flicks. Well, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 falls into that category. It isn’t dumbed down to the point that adults will be bored and not too smart for the little ones to enjoy. The balance, along with the fun character design and exciting finale are worth the 95 minutes it takes to watch. I highly recommend this film, even if the plot doesn’t seem resonate as well as the first. Check it out, though, it is worth it!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Despicable Me 2

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A secret laboratory near the Arctic Circle is stolen by a mysterious vehicle using a giant magnet. The Anti-Villain League (AVL) tries to recruit former super-villain Gru, now a devoted father to Margo, Edith and Agnes, to find out which evil person stole the lab, which contained a powerful mutagen known as PX-41 which can make indestructible and extremely aggressive monsters out of living organisms. They asked Gru because he, being an ex-villain, knows how villains work. But Gru refuses to help, saying he is a legitimate businessman now. Then Gru learns that Dr. Nefario, his friend and assistant, has decided to leave him for new employment, because he “missed being evil.” Gru reluctantly partners with undercover AVL agent Lucy Wilde, and together they search The Paradise Shopping Mall, where they are given a bakery called “Bake My Day” as their headquarters. Gru suspects Mexican restaurant owner Eduardo Perez of being a super-villain called “El Macho”, a bad guy who supposedly died after being TNT-laden, skysurfing a shark into the center of an active volcano. Gru and Lucy break into Eduardo’s restaurant at night, but only find a jar of secret-recipe salsa and nothing to prove that Eduardo is the culprit. Meanwhile, Agnes expresses her wish of having a mother someday and suspects that Gru will fall in love with Lucy. Gru tells her that his relationship with Lucy is strictly professional.

Gru and Lucy investigate wig merchant Floyd Eagle-san, but Gru is still suspicious of Eduardo. After the investigation, Gru is set up on a horrible dinner date with a woman named Shannon, who notices Gru’s wig and threatens to humiliate him. Luckily, Lucy bumps into them and rescues him from the date by shooting Shannon with a mild moose tranquilizer dart. They take Shannon home, and after they say good night, Gru realizes that Agnes was right: he has fallen in love with Lucy.

The next day, the AVL arrests Floyd Eagle-san (who claims that he was framed) because an almost-empty mutagen jar was found in his shop. The investigation is closed, and Lucy is reassigned to Australia. Before leaving, Lucy gives Gru her lipstick taser to remind him of her. This leaves Gru heartbroken because he loves her, but he cannot find the courage to ask her out on a date. Instead he brings the girls to Eduardo’s Cinco de Mayo party and finds proof that the Mexican restaurateur is in fact the super-villain El Macho. Gru discovers that he (and his helper, who turns out to be Dr. Nefario) have captured and mutated a large number of Gru’s minions using the PX-41, turning them into insane, savage purple-furred monsters. El Macho plans to send rockets full of mutated Minions to major cities and achieve world domination. El Macho emphasizes that he and Gru could team up and they would become evil again followed by ruling the city, but Gru avoids answering and leaves with his daughter Margo, who in the meantime has broken up with Eduardo’s two-timing son, Antonio, who had left Margo for another girl. In his vengeance, Gru uses his freeze-ray to freeze Antonio in a block of ice.

On her flight to Australia, Lucy realizes she has feelings for Gru, so she jumps out of the plane and hang-glides down to the party. She is captured by El Macho, who finds out she is an AVL agent after Pollito, his pet chicken, retrieves her AVL ID badge from her purse. Fortunately Dr. Nefario lets Gru know what is happening. In order to rescue Lucy, Gru visits El Macho along with two minions covered in purple paint, pretending he was captured by two of the mutant creatures. Fighting alongside his daughters and Dr. Nefario, Gru and his team spray all of the mutated minions with jelly containing a powerful antidote that Dr. Nefario made, whereupon they revert to their friendly yellow state. El Macho then takes the mutagen himself, but Gru and Dr. Nefario overcome him using a fart gun and Lucy’s lipstick-taser.

Lucy is, however, already strapped to a TNT-loaded shark rocket. Gru starts to untie her, but the rocket-launch remote button is pressed by Pollito. The rocket flies towards the same lava-spewing volcano where El Macho had previously faked his death. Lucy accepts Gru’s invitation for a date, and the pair dives into the safety of the ocean seconds before the rocket enters the volcano.

147 dates later, Gru and Lucy are married and Margo, Edith and Agnes finally have a mother. The minions close with a rendition of “I Swear” and “Y.M.C.A” while the whole family dances happily.

REVIEW:

So, it would appear that today is sequel day. This afternoon, I watched Kick-Ass 2 and now it is time for Despicable Me 2. Why do I suddenly want a box of Twinkies? This is a film that critics and fans were raving about, and it nearly shattered the box office during the summer, staying in the top 5 for way longer than it was supposed to. That means this has to have been an awesome movie, right?

What is this about?

Arch-villain Gru and his three orphan girls return for more shady exploits in this wacky animated feature voiced by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The story features new and eccentric characters and a plot to abduct Gru’s team of minions.

What did I like?

Emphasis. There are a couple of minor storylines that are touched on, such as the oldest of Gru’s girls having her first boyfriend or the obvious (dare I say obvious) hookup of Gru and Lucy, as well as some other lesser subplots. However, none of these take center stage, as the film makes sure to not stray too far from the central plot. Sure, it is nice to show Gru is a caring father for his girls and that he wants to be loved, but that isn’t what this is about. I applaud the filmmakers for staying on target, as many films of this nature are known to go off in totally different directions and never get back to what the films are really about.

Minions. If you know anything about this franchise, then you are more than aware that it is the minions that are the real selling point. The filmmakers know where their bread and butter is coming from and, aside from the forthcoming Minions movie (which they plugged in the end credits), this is their movie. Everyone else is just supporting cast while they do the kind of stuff we used to see in cartoons of yesteryear and every Saturday morning growing up.

Animation. There are some gorgeous scenes in the film, especially when the minions are relaxing before being taken to be mutated. The mall is also pretty impressive. What really struck me, though, was how that the characters seem, at least to me, to look more lifelike than before, while still maintaining their animated feel.

What didn’t I like?

Telegraph. Maybe it was just me, but I felt as if everything in this film was either predictable, or in the case of Dr. Nefario, telegraphed. For a kid’s film this works, but there are some adults watching that perhaps want a little more suspense, if you will. Perhaps if the Anti-Villain League would have been in cahoots with El Macho and they turned on Gru for leaving villainy, that would have been an avenue that could have been pursued and not have been so obvious.

Bailar. AAAARRRGGGHHHH!!! Another dance and the end of an animated film. Wait, hold on…this is a wedding, so it makes a little bit of sense, and the Minions singing “I Swear” by All-4-One (complete in 90s clothes) was nice, but I think it is long past the time when we put this tired gimmick to rest. What purpose does it really serve, other than to fill out a few minutes at the end of the film? Sure, it makes the kids happy and all, but so do silly scenes during the credits. Don’t even get me started on that “Happy” montage!

Matchmaker, matchmaker, find me a match. I realize that Gru’s interaction with his matchmaking neighbor was just to provide some comedic moments and also show that he is just a normal guy in the neighborhood, but I didn’t care for it. Granted, I’m not a particularly a fan of annoying neighbors and/or matchmakers, so there is a bit of bias there, but this woman is everything that I would never want coming anywhere near me or trying to fix me up with anything she knows (unless it was Nasim Pedrad, who voices her).

It would have been perfect timing if Red 2 would have come the same day as Despicable Me 2. The original films came the same day, so why couldn’t the sequels follow suit? Admittedly, I don’t recall Despicable Me that well, for whatever reason, but I do remember liking it. The plague of sequelitis has not his this film, as it is fresh, fun and enjoyable. I highly recommend it as a must-see for the whole family!

5 out of 5 stars

Snitch

Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

John Matthews (Dwayne Johnson), owner of a construction company, receives a call from his ex-wife Sylvie Collins (Melina Kanakaredes). His estranged son Jason (Rafi Gavron) is being charged for distribution of narcotics; while Jason is not actually a dealer, his friend set him up in a sting operation to reduce his own sentence after being caught. Jason’s charges carry a minimum of 10 years in prison. John feels responsible because he was not there for his son, and he becomes desperate as he realizes that Jason may be killed before he finishes his prison sentence.

Using his connections, John arranges several meetings with the local US Attorney Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon), who is running a very aggressive anti-drug campaign to bolster her chances for election to Congress. Joanne agrees to reduce Jason’s sentence if John can inform on a drug dealer, but states that he’ll receive little help from her and that the risk will be all his. Agent Cooper (Barry Pepper) leads a task force which will monitor any dealings John arranges to use as evidence for an arrest. John searches through his employee records and finds an employee on his payroll with two former distribution convictions. Daniel James (Jon Bernthal) is currently leading a clean life to avoid a third strike, as he now has a wife and young son to care for. John offers twenty-thousand dollars if Daniel will simply introduce him to a dealer. Daniel initially refuses but later agrees so that he can move to a safer apartment for his son, though he is unaware that John is acting as an informant.

Daniel introduces John to Malik, an extremely dangerous, high-ranking local drug dealer, who like Daniel has two strikes. Explaining that his business can not stay afloat in the current economy without a supplement to its revenues, John offers to run nearly limitless amounts of drugs at almost zero risk in his freight trucks. Due to being a legitimate business, the trucks avoid suspicion and carry too much freight to thoroughly searched. Malik agrees under the condition that John and Daniel drive the initial run themselves.

John and Agent Cooper arrange for several wire taps to be put in place to catch the transactions involved. John drives to the pickup point near the Mexican border. In the process, a rival gang ambushes the pickup, but John manages a daring escape, impressing cartel kingpin Juan Carlos “El Topo” Pintera (Benjamin Bratt), whose cartel successfully fights off the ambushers. John successfully completes his end of the deal, delivering the drugs to Malik while under surveillance by Agent Cooper. Malik mentions a meeting with cartel members higher than himself: Cooper, hoping to catch the higher priority targets, refuses to arrest Malik during the deal. Keeghan claims Cooper did the right thing and refuses to reduce Jason’s sentence unless John cooperates in a second meeting. John, outraged, agrees only if Jason is released when the job is completed, rather than just a reduction in sentence. Around this time, Daniel finds out about the arrangement John made with the police and is furious, saying that the cartel will kill John, Daniel, and their families if the truth comes out. John and Daniel send their families into hiding.

John meets with Juan Carlos Pintera under much higher cartel security than he has seen so far. Juan wants John to run nearly $100 million in drug profits into Mexico, back to the cartel base of operations, and offers to make John a member of the cartel inner circle if he succeeds. John reports this back to Keeghan and Cooper. Keeghan is ecstatic due to finding such a large target, but Cooper has a change of heart and tries to talk John out of doing the run, as he suspects the cartel will kill him afterwards.

John devises a plan to free himself and Daniel from both the government and the cartel. During the run, John is able to escape Cooper’s surveillance. At the same time, Daniel raids Malik’s house, killing Malik’s guards and wounding Malik. Before dying, Malik reveals Juan Carlos’s cell phone number to Daniel. John calls Cooper and has him track both his new cell phone and Juan Carlos’s phone, effectively giving Cooper both the money and the kingpin at once. After a highway chase and shootout, caused by the cartel’s realization that John is an informant, John escapes. Cartel members and the money are seized by Cooper’s men. Juan Carlos is also captured; he is unwilling to get into a shootout with the police, as his young son is with him.

The movie ends with Jason being released the next day. John and his family go into the witness protection program. Daniel refuses to go into the program, saying he and his family will go into hiding on their own. As Daniel has lost his job, John leaves Daniel the large reward check that John was supposed to receive for the capture of Juan Carlos. The film concludes by citing statistics which show that certain first-time non-violent drug offenders receive longer prison sentences on average than those convicted of rape or manslaughter.

REVIEW:

Have you ever wondered what happens to the family of wrongly accused drug traffickers? How is it that they stay in prison, whilst others, that actually are guilty, mange to get off scott-free? In some respects, Snitch will answer your questions, but is it worth watching?

What is this about?

Suburban father John Matthews is hit hard when his teenage son is sentenced to 30 years in federal prison under mandatory minimum drug laws. In order to reduce his son’s sentence, John goes undercover to take down a violent drug dealer.

What did I like?

Call him Dwayne. Dwayne Johnson is having one helluva year. It seems as if he’s been in most of the films that have been released this year, plus he went back to the WWE for a little bit this spring. Life is good for the man formerly known as “The Rock”. This role is a bit more straight-laced than I care for from him, but it is also probably his best performance since Walking Tall.

Intense. The best way to describe this film isn’t serious, dramatic, or boring, but rather…intense. Given the subject matter, you can’t really expect much else. The whole drug smuggling thing complete with the DEA swooping in near the beginning just snatches your attention up and doesn’t let go.

Walking Dead. I guess Jon Bernthal survived his near-zombie turn on The Walking Dead. For those that don’t know, he played Shane. As an actor, I found him to be quite competent in this role. He showed how much he cared for his family and also had a bit of a double life that goes back to his past. A character with this kind of depth is always a plus.

What didn’t I like?

Family. Johnson plays a devoted family man. The whole reason that he’s in this mess is because of his love for his son. There is a great scene between the two where he explains why he hadn’t been there for him. I’ll leave that for you to make your own opinion on, however, there is the slight fact that he seemed to abandon his current family and sacrifice his business for his son that didn’t quite sit right with me. The love resonated with me, but it was like he didn’t think about his wife and daughter.

Clean trucks. Whenever I’m driving on the interstate, I see a lot of trucks. These big rigs aren’t exactly pristine, unlike the truck that Johnson and Bernthal are riding in. As far as I could tell, this wasn’t a brand new truck, and even when it crashed, the thing was still shiny and clean.

Snitch didn’t blow me away, but I did like it. It has a sophisticated way of telling a story while giving us some kick-ass action, as well. If you are looking for a mixture of both worlds, then this is the perfect flick for you. I highly recommend it!

4 out of 5 stars