Although the modern trend of bringing back that film noir of the 30s seems to be taking over the cult film underground, when you start throwing around names like Tom Jane or Ving Rhames or French Stewart...okay maybe not him so much...then my ears perk up. Essentially that's why "Give 'Em Hell, Malone" ended up in my watching pile. What this film does is create a fun vibe and tons of great ideas. What this film doesn't do is finish any of it out. Its like making a sweet bowl to hold water, that really can't hold water. Its still a cool bowl but it fails at what its supposed to do.
Malone (Jane) is a legend by now. He's a gun for hire who's legendary beginnings seem to change to each person you talk to. But its his latest job, retrieving a briefcase, that may be his last. Malone is a hard man to kill, but a big time mobster wants this case he has and is prepared to send some of the worlds most dangerous criminals after him for it, including Boulder (Rhames) who used to work with Malone. Now Malone has to figure out who actually hired him and why before a slew of villainous folks slaughter him.
The idea of "Give 'Em Hell, Malone" is pretty solid and impressive honestly. Its an old 30s noir inspired film done with modern techniques and an 80s sense of over the top cartoon-y ridiculousness. Its like a slightly more modern "Dick Tracy" if you will. With a solid cast (Tom Jane will always be one of my favorite cult actors) and a solid concept and some nice 30s inspired visual work, this film should be a fun shoot-em-up time with trench coats and pet names.
"Give 'Em Hell, Malone" definitely has its moments like Malone's charisma with his mother and some great over the top dialogue moments, but the film really seems to miss far to many opportunities. The humor is rather hit or miss, many scenes are played too light hearted, and our femme fatale is rather lack luster. In fact, I felt as if this film should have almost played up the seriousness of its ridiculousness not unlike the great "Shoot 'Em Up". Yet, throughout the film I felt like the script, the directing, and cast would only half ass most of their parts. Not how I want to spend my time watching something with that much potential.
This film was a fun watch, but its understandable why it ended up going straight to DVD and not getting too much attention. Its rather disappointing and more often than not feels rushed and poorly executed. It has some great moments (and great one liners) but this could easily be a skip for most folks.
BONUS RANT: The character of Matchstick is an obvious rip on Ledger's Joker from "The Dark Knight". The way he moves. The twitches he uses. Even his scars. It was so obvious that it almost made me gag a few times. Not that the actor didn't do it well, but it definitely wasn't original by any means.
Written By Matt Reifschneider