It is never a good sign when a movie is delayed for a year. Yes, there was "Gangs of New York," but that was a fluke. Almost always, if a studio pushes back a film for a year, it is trying to find the safest spot to dump it. The strategy hardly works, and does not really make sense. Even if a film is bad, just release it and get it over with. The movie might still receive bad reviews but avoid the terrible word-of-mouth about delays that even the most critic-proof audience members don't ignore.
"Knockaround Guys" is a movie that was delayed a year for whatever reasons, and then dumped in early October when there are not all that many people that want to watch movies. The film, as expected, tanked, but did it really deserve to? In my opinion, and my opinion is correct, it did not. Yes, "Knockaround Guys" is not an exceptional film by any means of the imagination... nor is it even that great. It is much better, though, than most other films that I have seen that were delayed for a year ("Rollerball," anyone?) or more. Most blatantly, "Knockaround Guys" exceeded my expectations, and therefore gets some kudo points. It is only decent at best, but definitely watchable [note: "watchable" is not a word, but I like using it]. Would I watch it again? No. Can I think of many, many worse films? Yes.
"Knockaround Guys" is about a group of young gangsters who travel to a small town to retrieve a bag of cash that somehow disappeared from the airport. The cash is very important to some important mafia members in Chicago, so with their asses already on the line, these four "kids" have a limited time to do their best. When the money falls into the hands of a couple of dirty cops, though, things go sour very quickly.
The story is decent enough, but actually could have benefited from being funnier. To me, the premise of a bunch of wannabe gangsters in a small, hick town trying to get their money back from a couple of dirty police officers sounds more like a comedy than a thriller. But that's me. "Knockaround Guys" isn't cheesy, but it is sort of plain, and adding a little comedic flare to the matter could have helped in the long run.
The movie most notably benefits from a pretty damn good cast, namely Barry Pepper, John Malkovich, Dennis Hopper, Vin Diesel and Seth Green. Again, I wonder why a film with these names was delayed for so long, but who knows what goes on in the mind of studio executives. After all, so much crap is produced every year. Anyway, the acting is pretty decent and its fun to see so many noticeable actors in what is essentially a very small, low-budget film.
"Knockaround Guys" is a mildly decent film that has its moments. It never is very exciting or entertaining, but it moves along as just the right pace to never bore its audience. If you have nothing better to do on a Friday night, there are worse things out there.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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