Review by Steve Rhodes|
2 stars out of 4
KNOCKAROUND GUYS is a mediocre Mafia movie that was released to theaters for
only one reason -- the newfound popularity of one of its stars, Vin Diesel
(XXX). After languishing on the studio's shelf for three years, the movie,
written and directed by ROUNDERS's writing team of Brian Koppelman and David
Levien, was dusted off and shipped to theaters with the hope of cashing in on
Diesel's cachet. It has direct-to-video written all over it. It does leave one
wondering if the reason the cinematography appears so dark and dull is that they
couldn't get all of the grime off of the negative.
The setup has the boss's boy, Matty Demaret (Barry Pepper), trying to prove to
his pop, Benny 'Chains' (Dennis Hopper), that he really is a chip off the old
block. Circumstances conspire, of course, to screw up his first job for dear
old dad. With a bag full of a half million in cash lost in a tiny town, Matty
calls on his buddies, Taylor Reese (Vin Diesel), Johnny Marbles (Seth Green) and
Chris Scarpa (Andrew Davoli), to help locate the loot. Taylor is the barroom
brawler, Johnny is the smart-aleck doofus and Chris is the sweet-talking
playboy. The four of them use all of their limited talents to find the bag.
Their plan is to beat up the meanest guy in town with the hopes that whoever
stole the bag will hear of this and beg them to take it back.
John Malkovich, with his best Brooklyn accent, is onboard as Teddy Deserve,
Benny Chains's right-hand man. Easily the most interesting character is the
town's larcenous sheriff (Tom Noonan, who played the Tooth Fairy in MANHUNTER).
A tall, lanky guy with a big white hat, the sheriff is the only character that
has you guessing -- and caring -- about what he is going to do next. Speaking
of guessing, the story's ending has a few nice twists, or they would be if they
weren't so easy to predict. Unless you are in dire need of a Diesel fix, there
is no real reason to see KNOCKAROUND GUYS. Wait for video -- and then don't
KNOCKAROUND GUYS runs 1:32. It is rated R for "violence, language and some drug
use" and would acceptable for most teenagers.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes