Monday, 28 March 2011
Give Em Hell Malone
GIVE EM HELL MALONE (2009)
Directed by: Russell Mulcahy
Written by: Mark Hosack
Starring: Thomas Jane, Ving Rhames, Elsa Pataky, Doug Hutchinson, Chris Yen
I suppose Give Em Hell Malone is a love it or hate it kind of film. You either get it or you don't. You either go with its vibe or you don't. I got the vibe and I loved it. Part noir, part ballistic action, part black comedy and part ultra violent and stylised comic book infused mayhem, Give Em Hell Malone certainly mashes its genres but with a committed cast and director who embrace the outrageous nature and a frenetic pace that never falters over the 90 minute run time, this is an ultra-violent good time.
Give Em Hell Malone is one of those flicks that is set in the present but has a kind of stylised 1940s private eye vibe going on. Everyone has cell phones and it's present day but all the main characters are tough guy gumshoes, femme fatales and comic book villains straight out of some 1940s pulp fiction. This is an aspect you will either get on aboard with or you won’t. Despite the modest budget which means things are a little rough around the edges sometimes, the makers nail this aspect well. So we have Thomas Jane as the hard-as-nails Malone, a gun for hire who survives a nasty gun fight, walking away with a suitcase filled with mysterious contents. So no sooner has Malone cried "set-up" everyone and their cousin comes gunning for the suitcase. These include the obligatory femme fatale, a trio of uber-violent villains and somewhat inexplicably, Malone's own mum. Well, she's not really after the suitcase but somehow gets caught up in all the carnage to hilarious effect.
Thankfully not taking itself too seriously, Give Em Hell Malone has fun with its zany concept and once it's out the starting gate, rarely let’s up. Dark comedy, violence and over-the-top action all go hand-in-hand as the film tears its way through private eye concepts and clichés, embracing and obliterating them with equal aplomb. The cast are spot on, spitting out hard boiled dialogue and Jane is just plain awesome as the impossible to kill Malone. He seems to be the go to man for quality genre fare.
I've always been a fan of director Russell Mulcahy from Highlander to Resident Evil: Extinction and his tight direction helps to keep the frenetic charge of the film on track. The budget does show through occasionally but Mulcahy crams the film with so much ultra violence and gags the entertainment never dips. This is certainly a violent film: in an over-the-top, cartoon kind of way but very violent nonetheless. Folks are burnt (repeatedly), bloody squibs go off left, right and centre, a guy's face is shattered from a bullet and Malone himself gets pummeled more times than is humanly possible to survive. It must be noted that the film opens with one hell of a gun fight, the best action scene in the film. In fact, it’s so good it’s kinda disappointing there is nothing quite as good or as kinetic in the rest of the film. Ok, every time Chris (little sister of Donnie) Yen shows up to cause mayhem is pretty damn awesome as well.
Probably not a film for everyone, Give Em Hell Malone is a wild ride with a cast and director at least trying and mostly succeeding at delivering something different.
I dug it.