Rated: R for strong violence including scenes of torture, sexuality and pervasive language. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: November 27, 2013 Released by: Film District
Spike Lee has picked up on a film originally directed by, Chan-wook Park, a Korean director. It is a vengeance film that travels a hyperbolic direction to punish Joe Doucett (James Brolin) for what he did many years before.
Doucett a drunk who is a solid salesman, is kidnapped one night and held in a solitary prison for 20 years. Unlike other characters in literature when he suddenly finds himself released and back in the living world he is bent on revenge. That revenge in many cases takes place through marshal arts as he mows down almost all the attackers who attempt to keep him from solving the mystery of who and why he lost his freedom. Samuel Jackson is one who pays in a bloody session when he refuses to cooperate with Doucett.
The time spent on the screen in which Doucett is jailed moves as slowly as it probably would for a person in his situation, that is perceived as either realistic or dull to watch.
An expected the action picks up when he is free and he takes on hoards of associates of the bad guy played effectively in spats by, Sharlto Copley who is referred to as Adrian and/or The Stranger. He must be one of the most wealthy folks in the world to put up the 20 years of illusion and maintain the staff it takes to force Doucett into a box in the climax.
Dolucett's friendly bartender (Michael Imperioloi) along with a social worker, Marie Sebastian (Elizabeth Olsen) appear to be his only allies, she is a social worker who becomes interested in him helps him to physical health and moves him toward human emotion which has been lacking for the 20 year period.
The cause of this great conspiracy and the possibility of the detail and time stretch are difficult to accept as possible, but Spike Lee forges ahead with the dark story line which becomes more and more violent as the film moves on.
The punishment for each of the characters may be fair, but it is all a little strange and overblown for one event which occurred when the two main characters were college students.