Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday May 22, 2020 


Matty Demaret (Barry Pepper) is the son of Brooklyn gangster Benny Chains (Dennis Hopper), but does not work in the family business because he failed the test Uncle Teddy Deserve (John Malkovich) put him through as a child: he couldnít shoot a snitch. Matty shares a similar problem with his friends Taylor (Vin Diesel), Chris Scarpa (Andrew Davoli) and Johnny Marbles (Seth Green), who all have family issues. Desperate to prove himself, Matty persuades his father to let Marbles fly his plane to pick up a badly needed half a million dollar loan in cash. But while refuelling in Wibaux, Montana, Marbles panics when he sees the local sheriff (Tom Noonan) and the bag of cash goes missing. Now Taylor, Scarpa and Matty must head out west to set things right.

Review by Louise Keller:
I love the premise of this gangster buddy movie that is dressed up as a western, and it certainly begins with plenty of promise. But even the top ensemble case of Knockaround Guys, headed by the ever-remarkable John Malkovich and charismatic Vin Diesel, canít jump the brick wall that the script hits in the last 20 minutes. Maybe thatís why the film has been hanging around since 2001 waiting for a release. Perhaps the filmmakers are counting on Dieselís popularity to encourage interest.†

What begins as a laconic comedy holds our interest for the first hour. Itís not that itís filled with laughs, but thereís an undertone that is sardonic with a sense of the ridiculous. This is a story about the sons of the guys in the mob. Theyíre would-be if they could be, and they sure wanna be, but they seem to have just sunk into oblivion and become errand boys for their dads. Not only are these guys hindered by their blackened pedigrees, but they donít seem to have what it takes to succeed either in the real world, or in the underworld.†

One by one we meet these knockaround guys, who seem to be just hangaround guys. Matty wants to prove himself for once and for all, but he is relegated to delivering the sandwiches. Itís good fun watching Ďthe big gunsí: Malkovich oozing smarmy evil as loathsome Uncle Teddy Ė his every mannerism unforgettable as is Dennis Hopper as big daddy.†

Things really hot up when a little spot of trouble brews in the small township of Vibaux whose lanky, corrupt county sheriff makes it clear that he is calling the shots. Tom Noonan at 6í6Ē makes an imposing sheriff towering above everyone. Even Vin Diesel, who at 6í3Ē and exploding with well developed biceps is put in his place. Itís when the mob from New York comes to Vibaux to rescue the situation that the plot goes awry and the disappointments set in. It just goes to show - two directors (and two writers) are not always better than one.

Email this article

Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1



CAST: Vin Diesel, Barry Pepper, Seth Green, Andrew Davoli, Dennis Hopper, John Malkovich

PRODUCER: Lawrence Bender, Brian Koppelman, David Levien

DIRECTOR: Brian Koppelman, David Levien

SCRIPT: Brian Koppelman, David Levien


EDITOR: David Moritz

MUSIC: Clint Mansell


RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes



© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020