Backtrace (2018)

Director: Brian A Miller

Writer: Mike Maples (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Ryan Guzman, Meadow Williams, Matthew Modine, Colin Egglesfield, Christopher McDonald

 

Plot: The lone surviving thief of a violent armored car robbery is sprung from a high security facility and administered an experimental drug.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull & Messy

 

Story: Backtrace starts with a bank robbery gone wrong as the three get gunned down, with Macdonald (Modine) being the lone survivor, detective Sykes (Stallone) arrives at the scene to figure out just what went down, hoping Macdonald can give him the answers.

With his memory lost Macdonald is offered a way out of a security prison by Lucas (Guzman) and Erin (Williams) so they can get to the bottom of what happened, for their own reasons using an experimental drug to unlock the memories he has of the robbery.

 

Thoughts on Backtrace

 

Characters – Sykes is the lead detective trying to piece together just what happened with the shootout and bank robbery along with the problem when the only survivor goes missing. Lucas leads a group that have taken the lone survivor as they look to backtrace his footsteps to learn just what happened for their own motivation. Erin is the nurse that uses the drug on the survivor, she makes sure he stays alive through Lucas’s team’s investigation. Macdonald is the lone survivor of the shootout, only he has lost his memory, he wants to know the truth himself and will go along with Lucas and his team to learn the answers.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone is in this movie, but he barely does anything or has much screen time, he is a generic detective figure that just doesn’t get enough time to make any sort of impact on this film. The rest of the performances in the film have little to no impact on anything we are seeing and by the end you will feel flat by the performances.

StoryThe story follows the different groups that are trying to learn the location of the missing money after a robbery goes wrong and only witness has lost his memory. The story tries to put intertwine the different characters which is designed to try and make twists along the way, only for things to become overly reliant on these attempted twists. The concept could have worked, but in the end this story falls majorly flat because the characters are written so dully you simply can’t connect to anyone in the film.

CrimeThe crime side of the film seems to have everybody involved in the story either being a criminal or a crime fighter and we never know which side to trust either.

SettingsThe film follows our characters going back through a crime situation, which only feels tired on just what is needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Ummm pass.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The storytelling process.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull action crime film that doesn’t get the storytelling done well, making most of the film feel boring because we simply can’t connect to the characters.

 

Overall: Uninteresting.

Rating

 

 

Den of Thieves (2018)

Director: Christian Gudegast

Writer: Christian Gudegast (Screenplay) Christian Gudegast, Paul Scheuring (Story)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jackson Jr, 50 Cent, Meadow Williams, Maurice Compte, Brian Van Holt

 

Plot: A gritty crime saga which follows the lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. and the state’s most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Heist Movie

 

Story: Den of Thieves starts as we see how Merrimen (Schreiber) operates with his team, second in command Enson (50 Cent) and new comer driver Donnie Wilson (Jackson Jr) as they pull off their latest job, investigating this is major crimes officer Big Nick O’Brien (Butler) and his team, they don’t take prisoners, they take bodies.

After the opening heist the two sides know their enemy and Nick brings Donnie in to bring in to learn the plan, while Merrimen is planning the biggest heist ever heard off, the Federal Reserve Bank, will they manage to pull this off.

 

Thoughts on Den of Thieves

 

Characters – Big Nick is the leader of a major crime unit that is suffering with his own addiction, he goes outside the law to get answers and never plays by the rules, he is a good leader and seems to be the only cop in town that can think outside the box. Ray Merrimen is the leader of the heist team, former marine and prisoner that plans his heist down to perfection with his team, he will not go down without swinging. Donnie is the newest member of the team, hired for his driving skills, that he gets forced to work both sides by Big Nick or face jail for a third time.

PerformancesGerard Butler is on fine form here, this could easily be his best performance in years, yes this isn’t anything he can’t handle, but still he knows how to handle it. Pablo Schreiber is an actor I hadn’t heard off before, he does a good job opposite Butler, but his performance does feel like he needs to be a strong member of a team over the leader. O’Shea Jackson Jr is good in his role showing that he is going to be a name for years to come.

StoryThe story follows both sides of the law, the team preparing the heist and the police trying to figure out what the next target is. This work because we get to see both mindsets, but as both sides of the law are being painted as bad guy it makes it hard to support either side of them and this is affected with the opening sequence too. The twists that come in the story are going to be something that are not going to be too difficult to point out. This does however become an entertaining viewing experience.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action sequences are very good, even if they are mostly big gun battles in the busy streets. The crime side of the film is how the heist unfolds which does help with the mystery side of the film as we see how it all unfolds.

SettingsLA is the setting, which is meant to have the highest bank robbery rating in the country, this works for the busy streets and divide between the sides of the city.

Special EffectsThe effects are very good when it comes to showing off the bullet effects which are brutal as you could imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
The final heist, it might be long, but it is edge of you seat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The opening sequence ruins us caring about the thieves.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good gritty heist movie, it rolls past with an over two hour run time and keeps us guessing until the final scene.

 

Overall: Great action crime movie.

Rating