Knockaround Guys

The only reason that Knockaround Guys is seeing the light of day is because the Hollywood popularity of its stars has risen meteorically since its initial production two years ago. In descending order, Vin Diesel, Seth Green, Barry Pepper, and lastly (and unfortunately leastly) Andrew Davoli have all become stars of differing magnitude (Diesel especially). The really odd thing about this movie is that one would expect a complete dud given its long shelf life. Knockaround Guys is no different than much of what is out there. That doesn't mean it is by any means good, but it is nowhere as bad as one would expect. This is the standard gangster movie, although this time the accents aren't as thick and the actors are a lot younger. The gimmick here is that the main people are the sons of gangsters, all trying to make their own name.

Matty Demeret (Pepper, We Were Soldiers, Battlefield Earth) is the son of infamous mobster Benny Chains (Dennis Hopper, Ticker, Jesus' Son). Chains runs his operation with help from Teddy Deserve (John Malkovich, Shadow of the Vampire, The Messenger). They tried to initiate Matty into the organization when he was younger, but he failed. Now, after years of trying to go straight, he realizes that all he knows is the mob, and wants a larger profile in Chains' organization. As a test, Chains tells Demeret to retrieve a large sum of money and transport it back. Demeret sends his friend Johnny Marbles (Green, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Rock Star), who owns a plane, to fly the money back. Marbles has a reputation for being an idiot, and he lives up to it when he loses the money at a Montana airport. Demeret, along with friends Taylor Reese (Diesel, XXX, The Fast and the Furious) and Chris Scarpa (Davoli, The Yards, Bringing Out the Dead) head off to Montana to fix things before Chains and Deserve find out what happened.

The dichotomy between these made men and hickville Montana is what co-writers and co-directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Rounders) are trying to play up on. These Brooklyn sons of mobsters believe they can easily take over the small town; actually doing it is a lot harder than it seems. The local law enforcement (Tom Noonan, Eight Legged Freaks, The Pledge) is corrupt as hell, and when he discovers there is a large amount of illegal money, he wants it for himself. There's only one place Knockaround Guys is going, and everybody, their mom and Koppelman and Levien know exactly what that is; a huge showdown, with Chains and Deserve inevitably in tow. The main emphasis is on Demeret, and the struggle he has between what his ever-changing idea of right is. Going into the family business is the last thing he wants to do, yet the only thing he can do. He wants in, but refuses to go in whole-hearted. The tone shifts from being that of a dark comedy to one of serious drama, with Demeret trying to prove himself to his father. It is never convincingly funny, and too predictable to be an effective drama.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 31 minutes, Rated R for violence, language, and some drug use.

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