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GET CARTER

SYNOPSIS:
Well-dressed muscle-man for the Las Vegas mob Jack Carter (Sylvester Stallone) heads home to Seattle when his brother is killed in a suspicious drunk-driving accident. Carter meets up with his brother's mysterious wife, Gloria (Miranda Richardson), and his estranged teenage niece, Doreen (Rachael Leigh Cook). The path soon leads to various colourful crims; veteran underworlder Cliff (Michael Caine), off-kilter club-owner Cyrus (Mickey Rourke), fellow loan sharker John C. McGinley, and nerdy computer billionaire Jeremy (Alan Cumming). It seems they are all chasing a potentially damaging (i.e. raunchy) CD-ROM, and when Carter gets to it first, he sets out to kill all those responsible for its contents and for his brotherís murder.

"Get Carter? I didnít get it at all. This lame homage to an average 70s action thriller of the same name is a visual and narrative mess. Scriptwriter David McKenna has not only failed to improve on the original, but has muddled its clarity and simplicity. Itís hard to deduce where the action is taking place (Seattle), what Carterís connections are (we hear his Vegas boss on the phone but never see him), and how he connects the dots to his brotherís murder. What the sex-romp CD has to do with anything went over this criticís head. But it hardly matters. Itís just a sub-plot that sets up Stalloneís vicious payback on sleazy characters. Visually, director Stephen Kay shows his prowess as a commercial or music-video director. A grey, washed-over look (though itís always raining) includes flashbacks, sped-up sequences, spinning shots, odd angles, and an extended intro featuring Stallone walking the streets. Two car chases are almost impossible to watch, with close-ups and jump-cuts making it look like a Picasso portrait. Speaking of portraits, Kay manages to shoot his cast in the most unflattering light. Stallone especially looks like a remnant wiseguy whoís failed to wise up. He wears shiny silver suits and ties, dark sunglasses, and a goatee right out of the 80s (Miami Vice heads west?). We also have absolutely no sense of his character. With a blank stare and passionless dialogue, heís not an icy hitman, nor a particularly scary thug. Youngster Rachael Leigh Cook is the only standout Ė watch out for her in future. And Michael Caine should know better. If youíre looking for a decent revenge film, check out Mel Gibson in Payback or Jean Reno in the Professional Ė two particularly icy additions to the genre. Get Carter? Forget Carter."
Shannon J. Harvey

"Stephen Kayís update of the 1971 British film of the same name starts out with an inventive and nicely executed titles sequence. Unfortunately, the sequence also marks the point at which this film begins to unravel. Kay uses interesting production design and brilliant cinematography to give Get Carter a gritty underworld feel. But the best camera technique in the world canít save it from its muddled and at times incomprehensible script. The story itself is simple enough (itís not even that hard to work out who the real bad guy is), but itís filled with inane scenes and ridiculous red herrings to the point of exasperation. But its worst sin is that itís just plain dull. The pacing is sluggish at times, and Kayís attempts to introduce a kind of art house sensibility to the film only add to its woes. Sylvester Stallone, after a wonderful performance in Copland, reverts back to his mumbling Rambo stereotype for the part of Jack Carter. Not only does this seem out of place for the character, it serves to distance the character from the audience even more. I for one didnít care by the end whether Jack solved the mystery or not. The remainder of the cast have little to do (except the equally wooden Mickey Rourke), with Michael Caine in particular wasted in what is surely a novelty part at best. Still, there are some small compensations Ė the music by Tyler Bates, an exciting car chase, and the atmospheric Seattle locations for instance. But these, and the filmís technical flash, simply canít make up for the plodding script and leaden direction. One for Sly fans only."
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 0

GET CARTER (MA)

(US)

CAST: Sylvester Stallone, Miranda Richardson, Rachael Leigh Cook, Alan Cumming, Mickey Rourke, Michael Caine

PRODUCERS: Neil Canton, Mark Canton, Elie Samaha

DIRECTOR: Stephen Kay

SCRIPT: David McKenna

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mauro Fiore

EDITOR: Jerry Greenberg

MUSIC: Tyler Bates

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Charles J.H. Wood

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 1, 2001







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