Give ’em Hell Malone (2009) – Review

3 Stars


Russell Mulcahy’s retro throw back to the L.A. noire films from the 1940s is a pleasurable re-imagining of the genera in a somewhat modernized setting. Thomas Jane is the square jawed protagonist ‘Malone’ a private eye hired to retrieve a brief case belonging to a shady underworld figure. In the process Malone gets double crossed and mixed up with a beautiful damsel that may be the sister of a deceased friend. The screenplay by Mark Hosack is peppered with verbal jabs like “you wear mean about as well as you wear that ridiculous mustache” and others that bring to mind Raymond Chandler and I. A. L. Diamond.

While sometimes veering into comic book territory or satire the film repeatedly corrects itself in time for the next graphic action sequence. Ving Rhames scores as the heavily feared hit-man with the moniker of ‘Boulder’, though his real name is Lawrence. Sit-com actor French Stewart shows up in an inspired role as a z-grade lounge singer with low level mob affiliations. His scenes are wickedly funny and the film benefits from his presence every time he appears on-screen. Also effective in a supporting role is crazed Doug Hutchinson as a pyromaniac assassin, his performance is so over-the-top it borders on cartoon.

My only real complaint is the film doesn’t define its time period. All the characters act and speak as if it were set decades ago then all of a sudden someone uses a modern piece of technology. These minor quibbles aside director Mulcahy has fashioned himself an exciting and brutal homage to cinema’s ‘golden era’.

Director: Russell Mulcahy
Stars: Thomas Jane, Ving Rhames, Elsa Pataky

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