So I decided that I needed to knock another movie off of my Netflix queue today and turned on a movie that was short enough for me to watch and still write about before work (It sucks having a job, going to school and church, maintaining a relatively productive life, AND finding time to write about movies). So despite the bad taste in my mouth from Dirty Grandpa (heh), I turned on another De Niro movie with John Travolta in it.
And it was…. good? I guess? It was an alright movie with an alright premise that really missed the mark in a lot of areas. I’ll try to be as vague as I can in the plot description, but essentially De Niro and Travolta, for reasons explained in the movie, are in a grudge match in the middle of the woods.
One of the things I did like in this movie was Travolta’s performance. When I first heard him speak, I realized he was going to have a Russian-ish accent (I’m not entirely sure what it was… I looked it up, and one website says Bosnian, one Serbian, another didn’t specify but just mocked it). I was afraid that this would be stupid and distracting, and even though he does have a few lines I had a hard time understanding, Travolta managed to pull it off and ends up playing a different enough role to be interesting. By contrast, De Niro essentially plays De Niro the whole movie. Luckily, that’s not all that bad.
The other thing that I can say about this movie is that I was impressed, or at least intrigued, by all the creative ways the two managed to harm and torture each other. There are quite a few times in this movie where I started squirming. <Spoiler> if you want an example, there is this one point where De Niro starts waterboarding Travolta with lemonade made with salt while Travolta had open wounds on his face. </Spoiler>
Aside from that, there really isn’t anything special about this movie. In between the scenes where the two are torturing each other, they take turns monologuing various points that really do not amount to anything. I feel like the movie was trying really hard to be deep without having anything significant to say. The two also take turns playing cat-and-mouse and there were quite a few times in the movie where one of them clearly had the opportunity to kill the other but didn’t take it because they needed to drag the movie out a bit more.
The whole premise for the grudge-match is a bit arbitrary in and of itself, and I personally found the whole thing kind of ridiculous.
All in all, this movie really isn’t an abomination, and there are a few items and themes in this movie that I enjoyed. However, when the film boils down to the bare bones, I cannot find a good reason why this movie was made in the first place. De Niro’s alright, Travolta’s alright, and the movie itself’s alright; but they only occasionally go above mediocre, and I’m giving this movie a 5 out of 10.