DVD Review - Catch .44

(Anchor Bay)

FROM the non-linear storytelling and onscreen captions to the killer soundtrack and snappy dialogue, this film is a blatant love letter to the works of Quentin Tarantino.

Unfortunately it’s likely to be something of a one-sided love affair, with the great man himself likely to be reaching for the number of his lawyer to accuse director Aaron Harvey of ripping him off instead of nodding knowingly at the way his work has been imitated.

And that’s a real shame, because if Harvey had concentrated on telling the edgy crime thriller which exists here beneath the Tarantino pastiche then he would have probably come out smelling of roses, rather than stinking from a lack of originality.

So for the purposes of this review, I’m going to overlook the QT-touches, and consider what we have left, and whether it actually can stand tall as a work in its own right, rather than as a rip-off of ‘90s crime flicks like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.

Sassy gunslingers Tes (Malin Akerman), Kara (Nikki Reed) and Dawn (Deborah Ann Woll) are determined to make up for a recent failed job by successfully intercepting a lucrative dope deal on behalf of their enigmatic employer (Bruce Willis), only to run into a hail of bullets in the roadside caf� where the rendezvous was scheduled to take place. Add to this mix a psychotic killer (Forest Whitaker) impersonating a sheriff and you have all the ingredients for bloodshed…

Despite his top billing, Willis’ appearance is pretty much little more than a cameo, although he uses his limited screen time to create a character who stands head and shoulders above everyone else in this movie, especially Whitaker, whose accent is almost incomprehensible at times.

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Had this film been released 20 years ago, it would have been hailed as another success in the era’s crime genre revival, but for contemporary audiences it probably lacks the originality and flair one would expect to have evolved over the subsequent decades.

Hopefully next time Aaron Harvey will concentrate on finding his own directorial voice, instead of doing a sub-par impression of Quentin Tarantino.