Get Carter (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Robbins Recipe: The Limey meets the original Get Carter
I have to love a movie where my main man Mickey Rourke plays ... me! Yup, the Mickster is Uncle Sleazy, the internet celebrity nudity baron. I was kinda hoping that I would be played by Pierce Brosnan or George Clooney, but I guess it could have been worse. At least it wasn't Pauly Shore or Crispin Glover, and I got to kick the shit out of Rocky Balboa himself.


Speaking of punching, this movie took a lot of hits from the critics, and with good reason. It absolutely stinks. On the other hand, the critics seemed to save some special savagery for Stallone, and he doesn't do so badly at all. In fact, in the scenes where he shows paternal concern for his niece, he was pretty genuine. Stallone didn't write and direct this crap. What more could he have done? More to the point, what could any other actor have done better with this material? You think Derek Jacobi could have made this a winning portrayal? You think DeNiro or Pacino could have spun it, like Rumplestiltskin, into Oscar gold? Forget it. Brando in his prime or Olivier or Welles would have sucked very bit as deep as this. OK, he was Stallone, and a lot of people don't like him, but he was OK.

Stallone plays a mob enforcer who comes to his brother's funeral after a drunken driving accident in Seattle, only to find out that his brother and niece were involved in some very shady goings-on with some rauncy characters in the seamy underbelly of Seattle life, and that little brother was probably killed. So Sly decides to find out why, and who, and kick butt, and take no prisoners.

Luckily for him, Seattle is a progressive place which has decided to do without law enforcement officers, allowing Sly to commit several murders in public, as well as to burst into a party being thrown by the world's richest man (Alan Cumming), drag him out by his collar, and make him spill his guts in the forest. Needless to say, there are no bodyguards to protect him, none of the guests tries to interfere when a bloody thug drags their host out of the party, nobody follows them. Mind you now, this guy is modeled after Bill Gates. Now if Gates were to buy an island and declare himself a sovereign nation, he would be one of the richer ones in the world, so try to imagine Stallone invading - let's say Norway, for example - flying in, bursting past all the customs guys at the airport with his guns blazing, getting in a cab, driving to the palace, bulling his way into the throne room, grabbing His Majesty, dragging him out of the palace, throwing him in the cab, driving out to the forest, and roughing him up. Actually, that would probably be easier than what he did here.

But that wasn't the worst part of the film. In fact that was the best part, because at least in the last twenty minutes of the film something happened, even if it was completely absurd. In the first 80 minutes, it wasn't an action picture at all, but a serious family drama filled with slow, slow, slow exposition.

But that still wasn't the worst part. It was artistically pretentious. The director used all of that pseudo-Soderbergh technique copied from The Limey. Examples:

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen letterboxed, 2.35:1

  • Full-length director commentary

  • bad deleted scenes

  • The usual cheesy bios

  • Show a line of dialogue, back up, show it again from another camera angle. Repeat several times before finally moving forward.
  • Zoom in slowly on two people talking. Start again from another part of the room, away from them, and zoom in slowly again, repeat until nauseating.
  • Go forward, then back up to show that the previous action was only imagined. The real action may follow, if it isn't more fantasies. (In the elevator scene, they showed two fantasies before the real action)
  • Move a hand-held camera really fast from one set-up to the next. Then hold it in place for a bit, then move it down real fast to another part of the body, allowing the audience to see the motion blur.
  • Take a normal scene, super-saturate it, then return it to natural colors.

Using techniques like that was fresh when Soderbergh did it in The Limey. But Soderbergh, like Fincher and Tarantino before him, is going to inspire a legion of copycats, and this is essentially one of them. A bad one.

They gave this director $40 million to make a movie when his previous career highlight was writing The Mod Squad. Were they really surprised when it stunk?

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two stars. Berardinelli 1.5/4, maltin 2.5/4.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. Battlefield Earth levels. 11% positive overall, and a perfect 0% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.0, about consistent with the critical consensus, and too damned high!
  • With their dollars ... a bomb. Made for $40 millon dollars, grossed only $14 million domestically, peaking at 2300 screens.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is an E. Couldn't be much worse.

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