Here's yet another preposterous action movie that's made watchable by a skilful director and an engaging cast. While there are some intriguing themes in this spiralling odyssey of revenge, the script never really makes any sense out of the plot, merrily twisting and turning as it whizzes past a series of glaring improbabilities. But Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace put their huge brown eyes to work, holding our sympathies as things get messier by the moment.
Farrell plays Victor, a gun-toting goon working for the slick mobster Alphonse (Howard), who is being taunted by a complex, unnerving plot to bring him down. But Victor is sidetracked by his neighbour Beatrice (Rapace), who comes on strong before revealing that she has seen his handiwork and will report him to the cops if he doesn't help her get revenge against the guy who scarred her face in a drunk-driving accident. This puts Victor in a difficult position since he's already engaged in his own plan to avenge the brutal deaths of his wife and daughter, assisted by a family friend (Abraham) from the old country.
And the plot gets increasingly knotty, as both Victor and Beatrice start to wonder if perhaps falling in love with each other might be a more pleasant way to get over their anger issues. Yes, the film is essentially preaching love and redemption even as the body count nears triple digits. Fortunately, director Oplev brings the same slick-steely style to the film as his original The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. And the always watchable Farrell and Rapace get solid support from Howard and Abraham, as well as Cooper (as Victor's brother in arms), Huppert (as Beatrice's busy-body mum) and the underused Assante (as the big boss).
Oplev makes sure that the action scenes are vicious enough to unnerve us, while the emotional undercurrents never let up. So it's a shame that the film is ultimately so silly. Victor's nearly sci-fi arsenal of gadgets and guns is just ridiculous, as is hairdresser Beatrice's ability to keep up with him. And as the plot heads for a series of predictably explosive showdowns, we know nothing very surprising is going to happen. But at least it looks terrific.
Run time: 118 mins
In Theaters: Friday 8th March 2013
Box Office USA: $10.9M
Box Office Worldwide: $18.1M
Distributed by: FilmDistrict
Production compaines: Original Film
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Fresh: 36 Rotten: 60
IMDB: 6.5 / 10
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Producer: Neal H. Moritz, J.H. Wyman
Screenwriter: J.H. Wyman
Starring: Colin Farrell as Victor, Noomi Rapace as Beatrice, Terrence Howard as Alphonse, Dominic Cooper as Darcy, Raw Leiba as Toilet Guy, Raymond Mamrak as NYPD Officer Daniels, Franky G as Luco, Jennifer Mudge as Florence, Jennifer Butler as Jeep Driver, Isabelle Huppert as Valentine Louzon, Luis Da Silva Jr. as Terry, Declan Mulvey as Goff, John Cenatiempo as Charles, Roy James Wilson as Blotto, Myles Humphus as Lance, Stephen Hill as Roland, Aaron Vexler as Paul, James Biberi as Ilir, F. Murray Abraham as Gregor, Andrew Stewart-Jones as Harry, Krystal Tini as Harry's Girl, William Zielinski as Alex, Jessica Jean Wilson as Alex's Girl, Christopher Cline as Doctor, Beata Dalton as Anka, Accalia Quintana as Delphine, Maria Laboy as Matilde, Saul Stein as Andras, Roy Milton Davis as Derelict, Ante Novakovic as Peter, Kresh Novakovic as Carl
Also starring: F Murray Abraham
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