The Hard Word

Want another caper movie? How about one from Down Under? The Hard Word takes two of the more intriguing actors working in American films today and reminds people that the pair is indeed, Australian. Guy Pearce (Till Human Voices Wake Us, The Time Machine) and Rachel Griffiths (The Rookie, Very Annie Mary) are gaining popularity here via movies and television, but ultimately, The Hard Word is a little too predictable and dull to further their careers in any meaningful way. After a string of American crime films (The Italian Job and Confidence are still in theaters) that are either slick or clever, watching one that tries but fails to be both isn't very assuring.

Writer/director Scott Roberts (K2) has the look and feel right, but forgot to add a discernible plot. There are the three kooky brothers, Dale (Pearce), Shane (Joel Edgerton, Attack of the Clones, The Pitch), and Mal (Damien Richardson, Mallboy, A Telephone Call for Genevieve Snow). Shane has a serious problem with aggression, and Mal likes to cook. Together, they make a great crew, and their lawyer Frank (Robert Taylor, After the Rain, Vertical Limit), along with some crooked prison officials, spring them out on occasion to rob places. The trio goes along with Frank because they believe that each crime they commit brings them closer to freedom. However, Dale strongly believes that his wife Carol is sleeping with Frank.

At the beginning of The Hard Word, the three pull of a robbery believing it is their last. Frank doublecrosses them, and asks for another, and the three begin thinking of a way to get revenge on him and pretty much everybody else that annoyed them. There have been so many of these types of movies that all the 'surprise' twists are standard, and there is nothing about The Hard Way to differentiate it from any of the myriad of other films, aside from an Aussie accent. Pearce can be an intense actor, but his recent choices for roles aren't that great. He and Edgerton have the attitude and the swagger, but beneath their tough exterior there is little substance to these characters. The film achieves a steady state of mediocrity. It is not as gruesome, clever, funny, original, or fast-moving as any of its American counterparts. It just kind of is.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 42 minutes, Rated R for strong violence, language, sexuality, and brief drug use.

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