Tag: benicio del toro

MOVIE REVIEW | ***CLOSING DOWN WEEK*** The Way of the Gun (2000)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s trying so hard to be gritty and shocking and jarring.”

Gun 1
Recently, in my neighbourhood, I saw something that’s all too common these days. A video shop that was closing down. They had a big sign out the front, “4 movies for $10”. I looked in my wallet, saw $30 and decided I wasn’t leaving that shop until I found 12 movies I thought were worth having on my DVD shelf. Some were movies I’d seen before. Some were movies I had a vague idea about and thought would be worth the $2.50 gamble. Some were oddities I’d never even heard of, but they looked interesting enough. So, thank you, Network Video Brunswick West. I never rented anything from you or even had a membership, but I did find some cool, interesting and mysterious things on your almost empty shelves.

“I promise you a day of reckoning that you won’t live long enough to never forget.”

I saw The Way of the Gun back when it was first released on video. I remember thinking it was pretty shitty. A cheap Tarantino knock off that wanted so bad to be cool. In the years since, I’ve seen it slowly sneak its way onto pop culture websites and into general movie nerd conversation as a bit of a cult classic for a certain generation. Maybe I was too young to get it back then, but being in my early 20s when it was released makes me think I was the exact target demographic for its uber machismo bull shit. I can’t imagine I ever would have sort it out again, but that growing cult respect, and the fact that it only cost $2.50, made me think that the universe was telling me I needed to give The Way of the Gun another chance.


Parker (Ryan Phillippe) and Longbaugh (Benicio Del Toro) are two drifters, surviving on the road by selling their various bodily fluids. One day at a sperm bank, they overhear a conversation about a surrogate mother and $1million. They decide that said surrogate would make for a pretty impressive ransom, so they decide to kidnap her. In a move that might set a pre-Shoot ‘Em Up record for how quickly a movie delivers its first gunfight, they manage to take the pregnant woman (Juliette Lewis as Robin) from her heavily armed body guards (Nicky Katt and Taye Diggs as Obecks and Jeffers). (more…)

***2015 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | Sicario (2015)

Sicario 1

“You should move to a small town, somewhere the rule of law still exists. You will not survive here. You are not a wolf, and this is a land of wolves now.”

If you had told me three years ago that one of the biggest badass action stars in Hollywood would be Emily Blunt, I would have had to look up who Emily blunt was. Then, I would have assumed she was some prim, proper and pretty English girl with no badass action roles in her future. But now, she’s the woman who turned a damsel in distress into a pretty tough character in Looper. She’s the woman who totally kicked all sorts of ass in Edge of Tomorrow. She’s now the woman whose involvement was enough to make excited about the next, grittier step in her badass, action career, Sicario.


Working as an FBI agent in Arizona, Kate Macer (Blunt) is part of a raid that discovers a house with walls stuffed with dead bodies, and a bomb that kills two of her colleagues. The raid also gets her noticed by the CIA, represented by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), who enlists Kate to join his black ops team as they attempt to take down a Mexican drug cartel. Meeting Matt’s partner, the shady Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), Kate realises that getting actual results means sometimes playing outside the law. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Sicario (2015)

Sicario 1

“You should move to a small town, somewhere the rule of law still exists. You will not survive here. You are not a wolf, and this is a land of wolves now.”

If you had told me three years ago that one of the biggest badass action stars in Hollywood would be Emily Blunt, I would have had to look up who Emily blunt was. Then, I would have assumed she was some prim, proper and pretty English girl with no badass action roles in her future. But now, she’s the woman who turned a damsel in distress into a pretty tough character in Looper. She’s the woman who totally kicked all sorts of ass in Edge of Tomorrow. She’s now the woman whose involvement was enough to make excited about the next, grittier step in her badass, action career, Sicario.


Working as an FBI agent in Arizona, Kate Macer (Blunt) is part of a raid that discovers a house with walls stuffed with dead bodies, and a bomb that kills two of her colleagues. The raid also gets her noticed by the CIA, represented by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), who enlists Kate to join his black ops team as they attempt to take down a Mexican drug cartel. Meeting Matt’s partner, the shady Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), Kate realises that getting actual results means sometimes playing outside the law. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***SODERBERGH WEEK*** Che: Part 2 – Guerrilla (2008)

Che 2
When I wrote about Che: Part 1 – The Argentine, I mentioned the amount of detail Soderbergh was able to indulge in, thanks to having more than four hours at his disposal. Now that I’ve seen Che: Part 2 – Guerrilla, I realise that even with that mammoth running time, I still don’t really know anything about Che Guavara as a person. But that’s cool, because to me, these movies didn’t really seem like they wanted to be about the history of the man and how he became a t-shirt design for clueless dip shits. They are simply about two wars he fought and the extremes of success and glory he experienced in a relatively short time.


Toward the end of Part 1, there’s a flashback to Che (Benicio Del Toro) and Fidel Castro (Demian Bichir), talking about the revolution they’ll soon start in Cuba. When Fidel asks what Che wants in return for risking his life for a country that wasn’t even his own, Che answers that once Cuba is free, he wants Castro’s support in waging similar revolutions across South America.

As Part 2 opens, a heavily disguised Che is entering Bolivia, while Castro reads Che’s letter of resignation to the people of Cuba. He’s decided to give up his hard fought Cuban citizenship, rank as Comendante and high ranking place in Fidel’s government. Once in Bolivia, Che returns to the tricks and tactics that worked so well in Cuba. He mobilises the peasantry and starts training them to launch his latest revolution.

This is a different Che Guevara than that of The Argentine. In the first movie, we saw him earn his stripes, build loyalty and prove himself a hero to the Cubans. In Guerrilla, he has become a legend, talked about by his enemies in hushed tones. For much of the film, his enemies aren’t even positive he’s in Bolivia. He’s gone beyond the reality of the man to become almost an urban legend.

And that’s where Guerrilla gets really interesting. Che begins Part 2 as a conquering hero. He has bested Batista’s troops in battle and even taken on the Americans head on in diplomacy. But even with all of this momentum, there’s a sense of an inevitable downfall that haunts Part 2 from the moment it begins. I knew nothing about this Bolivian revolution before watching this, and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say it doesn’t go so well. It’s obvious very early on that Che’s efforts are more than likely doomed from the outset.

Like I said, between these two movies, Soderbergh never really digs too deep into what made Che the way he is. Which is fine, especially since that’s something The Motorcycles Diaries covered just a few years earlier. This is very specifically about Che Guevara from the mid 50s to the late 60s. In a time when most biopics follow the same formula of traumatic child hood incident that explains every misstep the protagonist takes over the course of the rest of their life, I liked that Che was more concerned with who he was, not how he came to be.

Che: Part 2 – Guerrilla
Directed By – Steven Soderbergh
Written By – Peter Buchman, Benjamin A. van der Veen