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Knockaround Guys

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Knockaround Guys

Starring: Vin Diesel, Barry Pepper
Director: Brian Koppelman
Rated: R
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: October 2002
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Andrew Davoli, Dennis Hopper, John Malkovich, Seth Green, David Levien

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 rent it.

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

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