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Review: Get Carter (2000)

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Dustin Putman

Oct 11, 2000, 9:33:16 PM10/11/00

Get Carter * * (out of * * * * )

Directed by Stephen Kay.
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Rachael Leigh Cook, Mickey Rourke, Alan Cumming,
Miranda Richardson, Michael Caine, Rhona Mitra, John C. McGinley, Gretchen
2000 - 102 minutes
Rated R (for violence, profanity, sexual situations, and blood).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, October 7, 2000.

"My name is Jack Carter, and you don't want to know me," says Sylvester
Stallone in the opening line of dialogue from "Get Carter," a loose remake of
the same-named 1971 film starring Michael Caine (who has a supporting role
here). An hour and forty minutes later, it was safe to agree with him that,
yes, I didn't want to know him, after all. "Get Carter" is a dimly lit,
brooding film noir that is as technically stylish as it is utterly mediocre.
With very little action to satisfy the appetites of die-hard Stallone fans
(save for two boring car chases), and a premise that is older than stale
bread, the film plays out in a way that more often than not causes the viewer
to question if they have seen the same proceedings all before. And,
unfortunately, they probably have.

Jack Carter is a violent, Las Vegas-based debt collector who has been
settling scores and making loads of cash for many years. Although he has
effortlessly adapted to his unconventional lifestyle, things change for him
with the news that his brother, who lives in Seattle, has been found dead at
the wheel of his car, the victim of an apparent drunk driving accident.
Carter, feeling guilty over not staying in touch with him over the years,
knows that his brother would not drink and drive, and suspects that he was
murdered--but by who? In an attempt to not only seek vengeance on his only
sibling's demise, but to also protect his apprehensive sister-in-law Gloria
(Miranda Richardson) and teenaged niece Doreen (Rachael Leigh Cook), Carter
sets out to find the truth about his untimely death.

In the depiction of a city where the sun never shines and the rain looms
ominously over the heads of the inhabitants, Mauro Fiore's evocative
cinematography is easily a highlight in the otherwise unextraordinary "Get
Carter," which boosts little interest outside of its camera trickery
(jump-cuts, overexposed lenses, etc.) and sparkling cast of familiar faces.
It's too bad, then, that no one besides Stallone, Cook, Rourke, and Cumming
make anything but a cursory appearance.

Sylvester Stallone, in his first return to the big screen since his
well-received 1997 foray "Copland," inhabits a sense of irresistibly
bad-assed coolness not seen since Mel Gibson in 1999's "Payback." While
Stallone is unable to paint Carter with more than two or three shades
throughout, he stands as a formidable symbol of how one should dress and act
if in the same line of work as he.

Everyone consistently plays second fiddle to Stallone, and some handle
themselves better than others, based not only on their talent, but how strong
(or ludicrous) the writing is at any given moment. Rachael Leigh Cook (1999's
"She's All That"), as the distraught Doreen, quickly warms up to the
appearance of Carter, who is not only her uncle, but someone whom she places
as a sort of father figure to replace her own dad. Cook equips herself with
finesse and clear signs that she is more than just a pretty face on the big
screen, even when asked to do silly or ridiculous things. Mickey Rourke
(1997's "The Rainmaker") is at his attractively slimy best as Cyrus Paice,
perhaps the only man Carter knows who is any sort of match for him. And Alan
Cumming (1999's "Titus," Broadway's "Cabaret"), as young millionaire computer
aficionado Jeremy Kinnear, stands out in all of his sparse scenes, adding
depth and memorable acting choices to a character simply vacant from the
written script, by David McKenna.

On the other end of the spectrum, the usually talented Miranda Richardson
(1999's "Sleepy Hollow), as Gloria, is merely cashing a paycheck, briefly
popping up only a handful of times and adding nothing to the film. The same
goes for Michael Caine (1999's "The Cider House Rules") and an unbilled
Gretchen Mol (1998's "Music From Another Room"), as Stallone's trophy
girlfriend back in Vegas.

Amidst the appropriately gloomy atmosphere and Stallone's star turn, "Get
Carter" is little more than a shallow retread of many, many movies gone by.
Attempts at character-building moments mostly fail due to the usually
lame-brained dialogue that screenwriter McKenna has ill-fatedly penned,
leaving us to follow a perplexing lead character whom we never grow to care
about, or even understand. Save for one mild surprise, the picture also
remains painfully predictable, leading to a conclusion that does nothing
except beg for a reason why anyone's time or energy was wasted making such a
throwaway movie in the first place.

- Copyright 2000 by Dustin Putman

Jon Popick

Oct 11, 2000, 9:38:28 PM10/11/00
"We Put the SIN in Cinema"

Remember the Shaft remake from earlier this year? The 1971 original was
updated and 58-year-old Richard Roundtree, the star of the first film,
was given a smaller role in the second to make way for a newer, hipper

But Shaft isn’t the only remake from ’71 to rear its head in 2000. Get
Carter was originally a British flick based on Ted Lewis’ novel “Jack’s
Return Home” that starred recent Oscar winner Michael Caine (it also
became a 1972 blaxploitation movie called Hit Man with Bernie Casey and
Pam Grier). Caine (The Cider House Rules) has a smaller role in the new
version, but he isn’t making way for a newer, hipper lead. In fact,
Carter’s new lead, Sylvester Stallone, is only four years younger than

The new adaptation updates the cheesy ‘70s music, clothes and hair,
while the story remains somewhat the same. Vegas heavy Jack Carter
(Stallone, Cop Land) learns that his estranged brother has been killed
in Seattle and heads off to his old stomping ground to find out if the
accident was really caused by drunk driving or by more devious means.
For some reason, he suspects foul play and, like Terence Stamp in The
Limey, he’s right.

When Carter gets to Seattle, he heads straight for his brother’s
funeral, where he meets his sister-in-law Gloria (Miranda Richardson,
Sleepy Hollow) and niece Doreen (Rachael Leigh Cook, She’s All That). He
begins to pester them with questions about the accident, but they see
his queries as an annoyance. Doreen even tells Carter, “You’re just a
picture on the piano,” despite the fact we see no pictures on the piano
in a later scene. Probably just a figure of speech.

Once Carter hits the streets to investigate his brother’s lifestyle and
death, we’re introduced to a jumble of characters from which we must
figure out the pecking order of Seattle’s crime food chain as he pummels
his way to the top. You’re supposed to be surprised by the kingpin, but
it’s really quite predictable. In that respect, Carter is kind of like
Mel Gibson’s Payback.

The original version of Carter was much, much better and is widely
regarded as one of the finest British crime pics ever made. It was
directed by Mike Hodges, who went on to make Flash Gordon and, more
impressively, the recent sleeper hit Croupier. There are two fantastic
scenes in the first film that I was surprised to see omitted from the
remake. One involved a steamy phone sex call between Carter and the
girlfriend of his mob boss back home. It must have been pretty risqué
20 years ago, but by today’s standards, it would be quite tame.

The other scene involved two thugs walking in on Carter while he was
shagging some bird. He was able to turn the tables on the situation,
leading the men down the stairs and out of the house with a shotgun
while completely naked. And, of course, the ending of the new film is
completely different. Interestingly, there is a mysterious female
character named Geraldine (Rhona Mitra, Hollow Man) in the remake,
somewhat of a nod to the original role played by Geraldine Moffatt.

Even without the lackluster comparisons to the original film, Carter has
plenty of problems. The film appears to be set just before Christmas,
but there isn’t the slightest hint of chilly weather. It is perpetually
gloomy and rainy in Carter’s Seattle, which doesn’t stop Jack from
sporting sunglasses most of the time. Stallone’s performance is
unremarkable in every way, unless you count the disgusting veins
protruding from his shoulders and arms, or the goatee that’s supposed to
make him look younger.

Editor Jerry Greenberg (Duets), whose technique resembles the comedic
styling of Robin Williams after fourteen espressos, makes Carter’s
action scenes more annoying and spastic than Armageddon. The film was
directed by Stephen T. Kay (The Last Time I Committed Suicide and one of
the screenwriters of The Mod Squad) and adapted by David McKenna (Body
Shots). Kay’s direction is “highlighted” by a scene where the camera is
turned upside down in an attempt to show how Carter’s life has gone
topsy-turvy. Give me a break.

1:40 – R for violence, adult language, sexual content and drug content

Chad Polenz

Oct 14, 2000, 1:46:42 AM10/14/00
Get Carter

The job of the film critic is to see a movie and write a review of it that
tells you what it's about and why it's good or bad. I feel kind of
embarrassed to admit this, but I after having seen "Get Carter" I really
can't tell you what it's about although I could go on and on about how and
why it's a bad movie.

"Get Carter" falls into that category of movies that continue to be made for
reasons unknown to anyone outside of a Hollywood executive board room. You
might call them the "Steven Seagal/Mickey Rourke/Jean-Claude Van Damme/Wesley
Snipes School of Mediocre Action/Crime Thrillers." You know - the potboilers
that are heavy on fistfights, shoot-outs and car chases but really light on
plot and character development. They have stories where the so-called hero
just keeps running into characters who have some connection to one of the
other characters who are all antagonists without a reason for being in the
movie other than to give the protagonist someone to fight, chase or shoot at.

Sylvester Stallone stars as Jack Carter, a Las Vegas-based mob enforcer who
returns home* for his brother's funeral. He believes his brother Richie was
"taken out" and didn't die from a DWI accident. Carter's one of the most
cliche bad-asses ever captured on celluloid. His face alone is pretty
intimidating and there's quite a few scenes in which he leans on both regular
citizens and criminal lowlives simply by staring them down and speaking with
confidence in his "Rambo-on-testosterone-therapy" voice. Stallone's
performance in this movie is so forced and unnatural he doesn't realize he's
mocking himself.

The actual story involves Carter's investigation into his brother Richie's
death. He's in a town that's not his but somehow the local top dogs know him
very well. Mickey Rourke co-stars as one of these characters, a sort of crime
boss who has something to do with running a porno web site and blackmailing a
young Internet tycoon (played by Alan Cummings looking and acting a lot like
Pee Wee Herman). There's also another plot involving Richie's mistress, a
secret CD-ROM with some convicting and disturbing evidence on it and
something terrible involving one of Carter's still-living relatives.

I'm rolling my eyes just thinking about trying to critique all this in a way
that could be remotely comprehendible. I could just rip the screenplay to
shreds, plus the direction or the editing or the production values but that
would require discussion of nearly every scene in order to explain it all. I
don't like to put spoliers in my reviews either intentionally or accidentally.

Yes, "Get Carter" is just that complicated and complex. And what's worse is
that it's not this intricate to make it seem smart like "The Usual Suspects"
for example - just the opposite. You get the feeling whoever wrote this
script did it in short intervals spaced far apart and they probably didn't
remember what had already happened and didn't figure out how each scene would
lead in to the next one or how the major plot points would work towards the

All you really need to know is that most of the film is just scenes of Carter
tracking down one scumbag or supposed witness after another, asking them what
they know, getting information and then realizing that if he wasn't a
complete idiot he could have figured it out in the first five minutes.
Although the supporting characters are equally stupid themselves since they
tell him everything which comes back to haunt them in one violent way or

Making a movie entirely about criminals doesn't necessarily mean they have to
be unlikable and cliche cutout characters. Mel Gibson starred in "Payback" a
few years ago that had a story not unlike this one but had such a good
screenplay you couldn't help but like him even though he was just as bad a
guy as Jack Carter.

So ultimately "Get Carter" fails for pretty much every selling point it has.
Carter is not a likable character and you really don't care if he gets
revenge or not. The action sequences are not at all exciting or original. The
enemies and their massive conspiracy are not threatening at all (c'mon, you
know who's going to win every brawl and shoot-out and car chase). In the end
you don't feel nearly satisfied with the results. The filmmakers did a good
job in doing everything as unoriginal as possible.


* the city is never mentioned by name but I assume it's Seattle since all the
cars have Washington license plates and it's always raining.

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Steve Kong

Oct 14, 2000, 2:07:02 AM10/14/00
Get Carter (2000)
Review by Steve Kong
The Hard Boiled Movie Guide

It was the slick poster and the slick trailer of Get Carter that got me
into the theatre to watch this film. Had it not been for that, I probably
would have waited for video to see this movie starring aging action star
Sylvester Stallone. So, was it worth the trip?

Jack Carter (Sylvester Stallone) is a brutal hitman who travels to Seattle
for his brother's funeral. When he gets to Seattle he finds that his
brother's death may not be what it was said to be and Carter sets out to
find the killer. In Seattle, Carter returns to his old life where people
fear him. Where he is the local tough guy, the bad guy. He meets his old
bad buddies, like Cyrus (Mickey Rourke). He meets his troubled niece
Doreen (Rachael Leigh Cook) who somehow is connected to everything that is
happening in the movie. There is a thread about Carter's affair with his
boss' wife but that never gets full treatment and feels tacked on.

Get Carter is a remake of the 1971 version. I've not seen the original, so
I can't comment on how the two compare. But, looking at the credits it's
nice to see Michael Caine who played Jack Carter in the original taking a
larger role in this remake. The story of Get Carter is nothing
special. It does have its twists and turns, but it sometimes lost me. The
film will also make you laugh with its subtle humor Stallone delivers some
of his lines with comedic perfection.

So, what's the hook of Get Carter? Style. The style that Get Carter is
shot is so different that at points it distracts from the story. But, I
loved it. The style in which Get Carter is shot gives the film a sort of
charm that if it did not have, it would not have been so enjoyable. Kudos
to director Stephen T. Kay, cinematographer Mauro Fiore, and editor Jerry
Greenberg for an injection of style into what would have otherwise been a
bland film.

How's Stallone? Perfect. Stallone gives one of his best performances in
recent memory. Kudos to Stallone for one great performance. The other
good performance is Rachael Leigh Cook. Mickey Rourke turns in a nice
performance and is genuinely tough on screen.

Catch Get Carter, you'll be entertained throughout it's running time.

Steve Kong

not all film critics are the same.
i'm your hard boiled movie guide.

Max Messier

Oct 14, 2000, 2:06:55 AM10/14/00
to presents a review from staff member Max Messier.
You can find the review with full credits at

Get Carter
A film review by Max Messier
Copyright 2000

Forget Get Carter. Instead... get me a cup of coffee.

What the hell has happened to all good American action movies? Did I
unknowingly miss a meeting somewhere? When did all of the bad-ass,
kicking butt and taking names, gun-toting, crazed, vengeful characters
of the 1980's -- from such films as Commando, Cobra, Predator, Raw Deal,
First Blood -- suddenly turn into innocent, compassionate, sensitive,
teary-eyed knuckleheads. The only place to turn these days for an
honest action film is towards the East -- and I don't mean New York

Get Carter -- the latest masterpiece from uber-thespian Sylvester
Stallone -- is a prime example of large and in charge 80's action stars
trying to fit back into action roles they have long since outgrown.
Stallone seems like that one uncle you have who tries to be cool with
his Members Only jacket and Izod polo shirt with the collar popped up.

A few years ago, Stallone made a movie that gave him the opportunity to
gracefully exit the roles that typecast him as an action monkey. That
role was Sheriff Freddy Heflin in Copland -- a strange film about
redemption within a broken soul. Stallone actually gave an amazing
performance and it seemed he had shaken off the past. Too bad Get
Carter returns Stallone to action, but with the shiny paint rusted off
on the edges.

Get Carter is a simple story. Stallone plays Frank Carter, a Vegas
bruiser for a loan shark (played with amazing gusto by the uncredited
voice of actor Tom Sizemore). When Frank's brother gets himself killed
in a drunk driving accident, Frank, feeling all guilty and mushy inside,
thinks foul play is involved and travels to Seattle to set right all the
wrongs with the patented "Carter's Way". He talks tough with his
brother's wife, lends a helping had to his brother's daughter Doreen
(Rachel Leigh Cook), and walks around Seattle in the pouring rain
dressed like a lost member of the Rat Pack with a really bad goatee.

Carter finds out that his brother was involved in some bad stuff with a
slimy porn king played by ultra-cool, McQueen-esque Mickey Rourke, a
multi-millionaire computer geek (Alan Cumming), and a strange foreign
guy (Michael Caine) who speaks in riddles and talks tough. Carter
stalks all of them while trying to figure out who did in his brother and
how to extract proper revenge on the responsible parties.

What a minute! This sounds just like another film I saw last year, The
Limey. Better not tell Terence Stamp about Stallone ripping him off.
Actually, Get Carter is a remake of the 1971 British production of the
same name, starring Caine in the title role (and what with his cameo
here, the cleverness is astonishing).

While Stallone still carries his own weight here, the movie lacks what
the original did as well: Purpose. Throughout the film, Stallone looks
like an old guy trying to act tough, while nobody is taking him
seriously. His one-liners fall flat, and he seems tired and uncertain
of all the actions, mental and physical, required of his character.
There is even a strange homoeroticism between Rourke and Stallone that
lends a bizarre tone to their numerous conversations -- in both fists
and words.

The biggest surprise in Get Carter is that the best job done in the film
is by the versatile Mickey Rourke. An amazing Method actor in the
eighties who fell into drugs, spousal abuse, a boxing career, and an
intolerable attitude towards not getting his way, Rourke still brings a
dangerous sense of purpose to his porn king character. He may not win
any Oscars, but he still ranks highly in my book.

Get Carter has great directing, strong acting by Rourke and Caine, and
energetic car chases that would make William Friedkin proud. The only
thing it lacks - as with most Hollywood productions -- is a good script
and proper casting. Never mind that it should never have been made at

Two stars (out of five)

Director: Stephen T. Kay
Writer: David McKenna
Producers: Neil Canton, Mark Canton, Elie Samaha
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Miranda Richardson, Rachel Leigh Cook,
Mickey Rourke, Michael Caine, John C. McGinley, Alan Cumming
Movie Fiends: Check out's Top 100 Hot DVDs!

Steve Rhodes

Oct 14, 2000, 2:07:36 AM10/14/00

A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2000 Steve Rhodes
RATING (0 TO ****): *

Generic brands have revolutionized consumer products from drugs to
cigarettes, so why not movies? Maybe the multiplexes of the future will
dispense with marquee titles in favor of generic packaging labels like
Comedy, Romance and Action. If so, GET CARTER would appear to be a
trend setter, as you couldn't find a more generic action thriller than
GET CARTER. Its dialog is superfluous. What little impact the movie
has is due solely to its clichéd images.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that movies like GET CARTER,
starring pricey stars like Sylvester Stallone, can't be made on a
pittance, so the tickets have to be full price if there is ever to be
any hope of recouping the financial backers' investments. And, if
moviegoers are required to pay about nine bucks a ticket for a bad movie
like GET CARTER, why wouldn't they choose instead a great one, like
ALMOST FAMOUS, for the same price?

GET CARTER, as you may know, is a remake of perhaps the best known film
of director Mike Hodges (CROUPIER). The original in 1971 starred
Michael Caine as Jack Carter. Caine, replaced by Sylvester Stallone,
gets a cameo part in this version, which is directed by Stephen T. Kay
(the writer of THE MOD SQUAD remake) and written by David McKenna (BODY
SHOTS). The recent résumés alone of the director and writer should give
you pause.

As the story opens, Carter is attending the funeral of his estranged
brother, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a fossilized
action hero, Stallone just stares and broods when he's not hitting

Mickey Rourke, an actor whose mere presence in a movie immediately
raises a big red flag in my mind, plays Carter's nemesis, Cyrus Paice.
Cyrus, with his ubiquitous dark sunglasses framed in iridescent green,
shares a trait with Carter. With their aging muscles and bulging veins,
they look like a couple of old lifeguards who are about to OD from too
many late nights at the gym.

The women are all given throw away parts, Miranda Richardson as Carter's
sister-in-law, Rachael Leigh Cook as his niece and Gretchen Mol as
Carter's love interest. The important roles go to the boys with their
toys, who get to chase in fast cars, shoot noisy guns and fight with big

The movie is set, incongruously, in that hotbed of crime, that notorious
underworld city of latte lovers and dot-com darlings -- Seattle! As a
wiry and flagrantly wealthy software geek, Alan Cumming modestly informs
Carter that "I'm the all powerful ruler of time and space." See what
excessive caffeine will do to your brain.

Before annihilating the first guy to get in his way, Carter tells him,
"You really don't want to know me." I completely agree. You don't want
to waste your time and money getting to know Jack Carter, especially
when the movie in the next screen would have to be better.

GET CARTER runs a long 1:55. It is rated R for violence, language, some
sexuality and drug content and would be acceptable for older teenagers.


Homer Yen

Oct 14, 2000, 2:13:01 AM10/14/00
"Get Carter" And Suffer the Consequences
by Homer Yen
(c) 2000

"My name is Jack Carter, and you don't want to know
me" says our brooding anti-hero (Sylvester Stallone).
Take his advice! To know this guy is as rewarding as
being thrown over a terrace. And to watch this film
is almost as painful. "Get Carter" is a gloomy
looking, unimaginative film that offers no joy.

Jack Carter is as tough as tough guys come. He works
out of Vegas as a self-described 'financial adjuster'.
Explaining his duties, he says, "people make promises
and break them. I help them remember." He has a
chiseled body full of tattoos. He has the weathered
look indicative of a man who has seen his share of
hard times. He speaks in a hushed but menacing tone
of voice. In other words, this is Sylvester Stallone
acting like...Sylvester Stallone. And like most of
his previous roles, his character is a shallow,
one-dimensional thug whose modus operandi is to talk
tough, hassle a few hapless people, find out what he
needs to know, and then dispense his own kind of
justice. With the charisma of a pit bull, being tough
is all that Jack Carter knows.

Yet, even tough guys know when to put family first.
As the story begins, we learn that Jack's little
brother has died in a car accident. The police
attribute it to heavy drinking. However, Jack is
suspicious, believing that he was 'taken out'. He
takes a break from his Vegas duties and tries to see
if he can find the truth. As he pokes around, he runs
into several lowlife characters. They include a shady
business partner, a prostitute, a dweebish millionaire
molded after Bill Gates, and an oily owner of a porn

Any one of them may know something about his brother's
death. All of them have the means of carrying out the
deed. But don't expect an exercise in sleuthing where
well-placed clues lead Carter to the truth. He's all
brawn and no brains, so there are no epiphanies during
his investigation. Instead, he uses intimidation to
muscle his way forward, cycling through this circle of
suspects. Flustered with his lack of progress, he
cycles through them again and again. This all gets
tiring fairly quickly. By the time the film launches
into its final act, we're numb from its pedestrian

Oddly, as a tough-guy thriller, it starves us for
action. Admittedly, there is one nifty chase
sequence, but this is related to a tangential and
needless plot (Carter's Vegas ties send thugs to
retrieve him). The story also fails to generate any
kind of emotion. Stallone has the personality of a
slab of stone. And the look and feel of the film is
perpetually downcast. The weather is constantly
overcast or rainy. Meanwhile, most shots take place
at night, in dimly lit rooms, or in dark alleys. It's
just impossible to get stirred about that kind of
atmosphere. As a result, "Get Carter" amounts to
nothing more than a flat thriller, bereft of clever
moments and devoid of any excitement. You're better
off leaving this guy alone.

Grade: D

S: 1 out of 3
L: 2 out of 3
V: 2 out of 3

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Homer Yen

Oct 18, 2000, 9:04:44 PM10/18/00

John Beachem

Oct 18, 2000, 9:10:07 PM10/18/00

Review by John Beachem


Directed by: Stephen T. Kay
Written by: Ted Lewis (novel), David McKenna

Jack Carter (Sylvester Stallone) beats people up for a living. Or, as he
says, people make promises and break them; he refreshes their memories (I
still don't get that. They broke the promise, they didn't forget it. Oh
well). When his brother dies in a car accident, Jack goes back to his
hometown to find out what happened to him. He meets his brother's daughter,
Doreen (Rachael Leigh Cook), who obviously doesn't like Jack, but confides
in him that she doesn't think her father's death was an accident. He
proceeds to question his sister in-law, Gloria (Miranda Richardson); his
brother's boss, Cliff (Michael Caine); Cyrus, an old acquaintance who now
runs a porn shop (Mickey Rourke); and a rich computer geek named Jeremy
Kinnear (Alan Cumming). None of them will give him straight answers, so Jack
decides to beat the information he needs out of anyone he can find. He says
he's going to fix things, but as Gloria points out, Jack doesn't fix things,
he breaks things.

Ahh where to begin. Let me start by saying that there is really nothing good
about "Get Carter". I mean nothing at all. I hunted and searched endlessly
for a good thing here, pinching myself occasionally to stay awake. Alas, it
was all for naught. It's never a good sign when the car chases bore you, the
story loses you, the jokes hurt you, and the nicest thing you can say about
the movie is, "boy, that's a nice looking golf course." That was a very nice
looking golf course by the way. Wish I could play there. It was nestled away
on a mountain, perfectly kept, surrounded by a deep forest of evergreen
trees. Beautiful scenery. Sorry, I just don't want to talk about the stupid
movie. Still, I can't procrastinate any longer, so here goes.

Try to imagine getting deposited right in the middle of a film that makes no
sense at all. When I first walked in, I thought I'd somehow missed half the
movie since the characters were all talking to each other like we were
supposed to know what was going on. Here's an example of the dialogue
between Sly and one of the Bobs from "Office Space". Bob: "I've covered your
a** for long enough Jack." Sly: "What are you talking about?" (my sentiments
exactly) Bob: "Well, you know, people are talking about you and Gertrude (or
something like that, I just remember her name started with a "G")." Sly: "If
people are talking it's because you gave them something to talk about." Now,
bear in mind, this is at the very start of the film. We don't know who
Gertrude is, who Bob (that's not the character's name, but that's what I
kept mentally calling him) is, what Jack's job is, what in the world is
going on. Already I was starting to not really care all that much. None of
these questions are ever fully answered (especially not the last one), and I
never did start caring what was going on. I tried my best though dang it, I
tried to get into this story, but I couldn't. It was too... too... what's
the word I'm looking for? Stupid! That's it.

As for the actors, first up we have the great Sly Stallone. Sly's career has
been on the rocks lately, and he... uhh.. line? Sorry, Sly's career has been
on the rocks, and he needed a boost to rev-reval-revitilz... line? Sly
needed this movie to revitalize his diminishing career, after box-office
failures such as... uhh.. line? Forget it, take five. Sorry about that
folks, but Sly's acting in "Get Carter" really is that bad. The man looks
completely lost during half his scenes, and I'm willing to wager they took
several hundred takes before he got it right. During a few of the so-called
"dramatic" moments, he has long pauses during his varied speeches, during
which he gazes into the distance for dramatic effect. I'm sorry, but it
looks like he forgot his lines and is looking desperately for cue cards
somewhere. Miranda Richardson ("Sleepy Hollow"), is wasted in nearly every
movie she appears in these days, that trend doesn't change with "Get
Carter". The great Michael Caine ("The Cider House Rules") is completely
wasted as the brother's friend and boss. I didn't think it was possible for
Mickey Rourke ("The Rainmaker") to be considered wasted (I'm usually fairly
happy when he has limited screen time), but it was pulled off here. Robin
Leigh Cook ("She's All That") plays Robin Leigh Cook to the hilt, looking
vaguely like a deer caught in the headlights of a semi; and the less said
about Alan Cumming ("Titus") the better off we'll all be. Don't ask me to
explain Bob's (John C. McGinley) presence, or the character's significance
in the story, because I can't.

I don't get it. How does a movie this bad get made in this day and age?
Don't the studios read the scripts before green-lighting a film? Guess not.
I'd like to say that in the hands of a more capable director this could have
been something, but that's not the case. Still, the direction (if you can
call it that) from relative newcomer Stephan T. Kay doesn't help matters. To
start with, I like a movie that throws me right into the middle of the plot;
a movie that skips all that often pointless exposition of plot that will be
revealed again later on. What I don't like is a movie that throws us into
the middle of things and never explains itself, and "Get Carter" is just
that kind of movie. Kay seems to consider himself something of an Oliver
Stone fan, since he's fond of quick cuts all over the place, sudden shifts
to slow motion, and anything else he can think of to "dazzle" the eye. Yet
while Stone's technique is irritating, Kay's is excruciating. I didn't think
it was possible to mangle a car chase to the point where you could no longer
tell who was driving what, or who just smashed into whom, but Kay manages to
do it. Or how about this? Sly walks up the stairs, putting on leather gloves
and getting ready to crack some skulls. Rather than just filming Sly walking
up the stairs, Kay films Sly walking up the stairs in quick little bursts.
First he's at the bottom, then half-way up, then at the top. Why was it
filmed like this? Possibly to make the film look more artistic (heh), but
your guess is as good as mine.

Next up we have the dialogue, which is amusingly bad at its best, painful at
its worst. Here are a few examples: "You've got as much chance as a one
legged man in an a** kicking contest." Gee, clever Sly, never heard that one
before. Sly approaches Alan Cumming on that neat looking golf course. Alan:
"Who are you?" Sly: "Tiger Woods." Wow, that was clever too. Mickey Rourke,
referring to his eyes: "Are they still pretty?" Sly: "Yeah, pretty like cat
urine in the snow." Now that was REALLY clever. One of my "favorite" lines
from Sly was "We're going to take this to the next level." He only says it
twice, but it was old the first time. Hey Sly, how about taking your acting
to the next level? Didn't think so. The film's score, from composer Tyler
Bates is grating, obnoxious, and fairly useless. "Get Carter" runs an unholy
115 minutes, which should have been cut down to.. uh.. well it just should
have been cut. I'd recommend the movie to those who think Stallone was
jilted when he didn't get an Oscar nomination for "Judge Dredd", and give
the film a much deserved one out of five stars. One last note, I know I had
a full plot summary up there, but here's the real plot: Jack asks question,
person won't answer, Jack threatens then with cheesy catch phrase or twists
a limb till they cry uncle, person answers. What's the final threat of the
movie? Possible sequel is hinted at. Uncle! Uncle!

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* * * * * - One of the best movies of the year.
* * * * - Great flick, try and catch this one.
* * * - Okay movie, hits and misses.
* * - Pretty bad, see it at your own risk.
* - See this one only if you enjoy pain.
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