Tag Archives: hoodrat

Harsh Times: Get Some Christian Bale

In one of my favorite Christian Bale films, Bale plays a hardened soldier newly returned to South Central Los Angeles. With new promising jobs for himself on the horizon, Jim Davis (Bale) has his feet in two camps. In one, Davis is a well-to-do yet slightly skewed veteran soldier that wants to bring his loving Mexican girlfriend to the U.S. and marry her. In the other, Davis has returned to his old haunts around the streets of L.A., drinking and living the life of a hoodrat. Cruising around with his friend Mike Alonzo (Freddy Rodriguez), attempting to right their lives but always falling short.

Jim Davis, although its not explicitly stated, suffers from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. After serving over in the Middle East, Davis suffers from bouts of extreme anger and unquenchable violence. This get him in some trouble throughout the film. In a manner of speaking, Davis becomes his own undoing, turning into a destructive time bomb ready to explode at any moment, hurting those he cares about. As an outsider viewing this, Alonzo (Rodriguez) is a spectator to the bomb

Two thugs, cruisin’ to get their. Rodriguez is creepin’ a bit hard on Bale though…

show. Both serve as peer pressure for the other, although, in the end, Davis seems to want to remain in his in between life much longer than Alonzo does.

The film starts with a bit of iffy war footage of Christian Bale running around in trenches, letting his gun go at will and laying waste to the terrorists. This is juxtaposed to the waking fear that he feels when he wakes up in the squalor of his girlfriend’s poverty in Mexico. Marta (Tammy Trull) is a wonderfully devoted character who is only a product of the environment around her. She makes the best of what she has and loves Davis dearly. Jim loves her too, and surprisingly never cheats on her. In this movie, Spanish is the language of love, spoken competently by Bale in this film, as if he picked it up after falling in love with Marta. The language barriers and connections in this film between the white and Latino characters is one I applaud in its representation in the film.

The hardened stare of a killer.

I was also impressed with Freddy Rodriguez’s performance in this film as well. Not seeing him in much other than the Grindhouse films and Six Feet Under. His voice is more recognizable than his acting, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because he ran his mouth in this film. Sylvia, played by Eva Longoria, was just thoroughly average in this film, as she usually is. (I did surprisingly like her in Over My Dead Body… if that’s what it’s called). Terry Crews, star of The Longest Yard and The Expendables, made a surprise appearance as a semi-believable street thug, providing some of the only comedy in the film. And last but not least, J.K. Simmons made an appearance as a Homeland Security agent looking to hire Davis. He’s always believable as authority figures in his films.

In this film comes a lot of the breakdown of what happens to someone who suffers through war. It may not appear during their service as in this film, but it may occur anytime after, triggered by any number of things. For Davis, I felt it was his return to a society that was just as cruel as the conditions he felt in

Look everyone, it’s the Old Spice Guy!

war times that did it for him. He came back to more of what he knew, and treated it like the warring sands of the Middle East. And what impressed me more with David Ayer’s writing and directing, is that he based these characters on real people from his experience in South L.A. This brought a new level to Christian Bale’s acting and the way in which his character was formulated.

Bale and Rodriguez getting the direction they need from Ayers.

Let me say again how impressed I was with Christian Bale’s acting in this film. As one of my favorite films of his, Christian Bale does nothing less than attempt and succeed at an American accent. Although I felt that the lingo used in this film was a bit over the top, when it was used, it was more than likely appropriate. With some tricks of the trade thrown in there and some real mean streets shizz, it wasn’t a stretch to believe the events of the film. But it just goes to show that the corruption of the streets can easily lead to a tragedy. And the way that Christian Bale portrays that breakdown of a character, up to the tears and fear, its a commendable performance. Not to mention how frightening Christian Bale becomes when he’s serious. I wouldn’t wanna deal with him in a dark alley.

So with his performance, some true to the streets gang banging, and the whites vs. the latinos really

Jim Davis, rollin’ hard to get his.

adds a lot to a well written story. The psychological thriller elements of the film are well delivered and I can connect things I’ve witnessed in my life to the events onscreen. On a touchy subject like the recent tours of duty over in Iraq and Afghanistan, this movie touches just the right spots with aplomb. I’ll give this one, as should be expected, a decent 84. out of 10.

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Setup… Really?

Basic.

It is not wrong when I say that 50 Cent is the best actor in this film. Nor is it wrong to say that I watched this movie for 50 Cent and 50 Cent alone. He is my guilty pleasure actor. No matter what he does, I have to see it. He got me through some thuggish times in 8th grade…

Setup is the story of 50 Cent, better known in this film as Sonny. One of the most un-hoodrat names I’ve ever heard, but what can you do? Sonny has two friends, Vincent (Ryan Phillippe) and Dave (Brett Granstaff). They plan a heist and do the job. On a dock somewhere nearby, they stop. Vincent gets out and betrays Sonny and Dave by shooting them in the chest. For Sonny, this means revenge. For Dave, this is a metaphor for his career. Goodbye Dave.

This film, although a 50 Cent joint, was so unremarkable to me. The people that they robbed were planned ahead of time and “set-up” 50 and the gang. Vincent/Phillippe is a whiny, strange wigger biatch who deserves what he gets coming at the end. His lady gets glass coffee tabled and this strange Hispanic assassin who does it comes up like a deadly fairy. And here we go with another Lucky Number 7leven situation again. Bruce Willis comes in as this eccentric, unemotional crime boss, Jack Biggs. His part is simple, and, more importantly, basic. I could not even say that his acting was decent in this film. 50 Cent blew everyone out of the water.

Let's cheers to my horrible acting, for I am Bruce Willis.

One scene I will say I enjoyed in this movie was the Randy Couture scene. This MMA fighter is the biggest fool of them all and, when they say don’t play with a loaded gun, he does. In one of those corny lines (“Don’t shoot yourself”) Randy thinks his massively shaved head will shield any incoming projectiles. Lesson is, you will end up in some strange chemical factory chop shop were you go through this darkly satirized meat grinder.

Three big old gangsters, in a van. Bye Dave.

The mob guys are lame and there’s this odd standoff between the gangsters of the street and the high end Italian gangsters (if that was what they were going for…). The plot is basic, the characters are basic, and 50 Cent steals the show. I don’t know what more to say. That arms dealer was mad funny though. I give him props for making one of the darker scenes of the movie really funny. But you can’t make one good 5 minute scene and an hour and 35 minutes of crap. It just can’t make up for it. But I gotta give my props to 50 Cent. He pulled this up from a 1 out of 10 to a 2.6 out of 10. Way to go.

Word! Randy Couture!