Savages

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(2012) ★★

Channel 4: PREMIERE Saturday 23 May, 11.10pm

Buddies since highschool, Buddhist botanist Aaron Johnson and ex-Navy Seal Taylor Kitsch run a lucrative home-grown weed business from Southern California’s Laguna Beach. It’s where they share the favours of Blake Lively, who loves them both. And Mexico’s big bad Baja cartels are coming for them all. The lovely Lively’s know-all narration is just one of the problems with Oliver Stone’s savage thriller, a pale shadow of his notorious Natural Born Killers and the underrated U-Turn. Even John Travolta’s hefty presence as a slimy fed can’t prevent this violent pot-head pulp fiction from turning to mulch, cut with chainsaws and blown up by bazookas. It plays more like a Sam Peckinpah parody – Bring Me the Head of Benicio Del Toro! (who’s actually the only credible character in the entire film) – than as any kind of relevant relation to the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men. Despite the terrible wigs worn by Del Toro and Salma Hayek, the film at least looks good although its broad mix of cynicism and sentimentalism remains Cheech & Chong unappealing. Oddly, this even seems to extend to Adam Peters’ music score, which is all over the place. The same can be said of a trick ending that has more brass than Tijuana – it’s not so much a surprise as a slap in the face.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 135min