‘Savages’ is Over the Top – Painfully

Image Courtesy Universal Pictures
Image Courtesy Universal Pictures


Have you ever wanted to see someone beheaded by chainsaw? Or strung up with chains? All this and more is in Oliver Stone’s new film, “Savages.”

I, for one, have never wanted to see any of that. Ever. But sitting in the darkened theater, I found it difficult to look away from the screen because, although it was so horrible, it showed you just enough to be intrigued and watch on.

The story follows two buddies, Chon (Taylor Kitsch, the star of the failed Disney film “John Carter”) and Ben (Aaron Johnson from “Kick Ass”) as their smalltime marijuana growing business grows and grows (no pun intended) into a well respected and highly profitable organization. So much so that it merits the interest of a Mexican drug cartel.

When the pair refuse to come into partnership with the cartel, their shared girlfriend O (the insipid Blake Lively) is kidnapped and held for ransom until Ben and Chon accept the offer. In order to get the girl back, hippy pacifist Ben and former Marine Chon must go to war with the cartel to save their shared girl before its too late.

If 1998’s “The Big Lebowski” wasn’t funny, and the Cohen Brothers decided to take a dark spin on their story, it may have come out similar to this. It has many of the same plot points – a hippy stoner and a war veteran who can’t let go of the war are best friends. When a girl is kidnapped, they have to work together to find out where she is and get her back, if at all possible.  Her life is in their hands, man. They have to get the money and pay the ransom for the girl, but then the deal goes south and they end up fighting the bad guys (in “Savages,” a Mexican drug cartel; in Lebowski, a group of German nihilists). And through it all, the one expository voice that narrates the tale keeps the flow going (in this case the monotone and distracted Lively instead of Sam Elliott in Lebowski).

This movie is very graphic and violent. Too much so. A strong showing by Aaron Johnson is not enough to make up for huge doses of violence and having to sit through super close ups of Blake Lively’s pores. Even Salma Hayek’s low cut shirts as the drug lord couldn’t save this film.

If you want to see something with the same basic plot points, go watch Lebowski on tape.

Both films are rated R for good reason though, so this is for adults only.

I give “Savages” 1 out of 5.

Catch ya later on down the trail