We love us some Redbox. Watched this on May 25, 2014.
This was kind of a throwaway choice. We didn’t see anything we really wanted to watch, but I like John Cusack, so we went for this.
You have to suspect something up when you see acclaimed actors in an unheard of film that is also made by an unknown director. The Bag Man is such a film that uses a lot of gist from a lot of other similar movies.
These actors are Robert De Niro and John Cusack. De Niro will always be remembered for his mob playing roles, and Cusack is a well-known character-defined actor who came into the limelight after playing a skilled assassin in Grosse Pointe Blank. What De Niro and Cusack do in this movie is basically play those characters again, but in a dark, twisted and bizarre setting that is hard to figure out.
Perpetrating this unholy mess is first-time director David Grovic, who might have had his best interests at heart, but ends up with a barely recognizable Quentin Tarantino styled montage. Cusack’s Jack encounters a bunch of over-the-top characters in a dodgy motel where he is tasked with retrieving and protecting a mysterious bag. The assignment involving this dubious bag happens earlier on a private jet, where Jack’s crime boss Dragna (De Niro) offers him an insane amount of money for delivering said bag but with a repeated instruction never to look in the bag.
In a literal sense, Grovic gives a new spin to the ‘film-noir’ genre, but only because scenes are dark, but it’s well done enough to see what is happening. Grovic’s co-scripted story is filled with irrelevant subplots. In the middle of a killing spree, Jack falls for a hooker who just happens to hold the key to this mishmash mystery. Meanwhile, De Niro is left to dish out Tarantino inspired dialogues in between fits of impulsive violence. All else is puerility, including the oh-so-great reveal of what’s in the bag – which literally feels like one of those annoying April fool’s jokes. An improbable plot twist is thrown in at the very end for good measure.
It’s worth seeing, but only if you’re a fan of De Niro or Cusack, and attempts at Noir. Otherwise, pass on this one.