Savages (2012)

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch, John Travolta

Directed by: Oliver Stone

R. 129 mins

A bloody SoCal-thriller that’s really loud and entirely pointless. Ben (Johnson), a charitable Buddhist, and his best friend Chon (Kitsch), former NAVY seal, run a highly successful business selling some of the best marijuana around. By their side is Ophelia (Lively), a beautiful young woman who claims to love both of them as she shares a life (and a bed) with the two best friends. Suddenly, the Mexican Baja Cartel demands that the guys partner with them and for extra incentive, they kidnap Ophelia. The rest is a series of  negotiations and brutal violence all in the name of love, power, and loyalty. Savages is easily watchable, but the themes are nothing new from Stone. In adapting Don Winslow’s novel, Stone has forgotten that visual flair and a crew of ‘badass’ actors can’t make up for muddled storytelling and empty characterization. Savages reaches for something, but what that is exactly.. I don’t even think Stone knows – * * 1/2

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