Get Carter

The original Get Carter (based on the book Jack's Return Home by Ted Lewis) came out in 1971 and starred Michael Caine. It quickly became a cult classic among many fans of cinema. The new version stars Sylvester Stallone and features Caine, and should attract some interest before fading quickly from the memory of today's fickle moviegoer. It's not that Get Carter is a bad movie; it isn't. It just is not a great movie either. There is nothing to distinguish it from every other action movie out there, and nothing memorable to take away.

The death of Jack Carter's (Stallone, Driven, Copland) brother sets events in motion. Carter is an enforcer based in Las Vegas. He returns to Seattle for the funeral, and, much to the dismay of his boss stays to investigate what he thinks was a murder. Carter also feels a newfound sense of responsibility to his remaining family, sister-in-law Gloria (Miranda Richardson, Sleepy Hollow, The Apostle) and niece Doreen (Rachel Leigh Cook, She's All That, Josie & the Pussycats). Gloria dislikes Carter and wants him to leave. Doreen never knew him, so she is curious. Carter's main suspects are Cliff Brumby (Caine, Quills, The Cider House Rules), his brother's boss, Cyrus Paice (Mickey Rourke, Double Team, The Rainmaker), a local mobster, and his financier, computer millionaire Jeremy Kinnear (Alan Cumming, Titus, Eyes Wide Shut).

Instead of Carter actually investigating his brother's death, everything seems to happen to him. He stumbles upon clues instead of discovering them. People are more intent on getting him to leave and end up confronting him than the other way around. If they just kept their mouths shut, Carter's job would be much more difficult. It also isn't clear if Stallone is the person people find imposing or if Carter is. Stallone is familiar to everyone with his roles as Rocky and Rambo, and still cuts an impressive figure here with a goatee and tattoos. People also tend to forget that he can act, as he does here (well, a little). Carter is beginning to tire of his old life. Meeting Doreen reminds him that there is more to life than beating people up. However, he is still willing to explode at a moment's notice if somebody does not listen to him.

Cook is impressive as Doreen. Unlike most of her peers, she does not confine herself to teenybopper movies. She varies her roles, picking and choosing things that can further her abilities. Here, she shows a surprising amount of depth and substance. Cumming is much more subdued than he normally is, but this still makes him more entertaining that most people. Director Stephen Kay (The Mod Squad, The Last Time I Committed Suicide) favors flashy camera cuts over true substance, glossing over any potentially deep moments. Some of the tricks would be interesting if they were new, but so many other directors use them also. Quick cuts and flash-forwards do not really cut it anymore. The Seattle setting gives everything a dreary feeling that suits the movie well, but also ends up being what the viewer feels when it is over.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 43 minutes, Rated R for violence, language, some sexuality, and drug use.

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