TLA Releasing // 2007 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 25th, 2008
The Mean Streets of Copenhagen Just Got Meaner.
Does Copenhagen have mean streets? For the sake of argument, let's assume that's true and that, in fact, most any city has at least a mean street. Or a mean driveway. Well, these streets are pretty fricking mean, as evidenced by the rampant gunfire and betrayals that happen in Pistoleros
Here's the lowdown: a pair of young, aspiring filmmakers stop at a bar in Copenhagen to interview a local street thug named Crazy Uffe. Uffe's got a story to tell -- and sell -- and the kids are interested in hearing what he has to offer. The tale that he spins is of a legendary crime boss named Frank who screwed over a couple of Pakistani criminals and stuffed away 10 million (insert regional currency here). And then, presumably because he was a major fan of Waterworld, Frank makes his loved ones get tattoos that lead to the secret location of the fortune.
With that kind of loot just sitting there, waiting for someone to track it down, a race ensues. The competitors: Frank's feisty sons, a bad-ass Spanish dude and the original Pakistani brothers, all of whom are trigger-happy, reluctant to shave and perspire obscenely. As anyone who's ever watched an action movie can attest, that's a deadly combination and, indeed, it's not long before these guys are shooting at each other and kicking and punching each other and ogling strippers.
And that's your movie. The violence of Pistoleros is proclaimed to the stratosphere on the packaging -- does it deliver on the expectations? Nope. There are a handful of gunfights. Actually, two to be specific, and an equivalent amount of hand-to-hand combat. Everything else can be filed under the category "backstabbing," as each category take turns f -- -ing over one other.
I was fairly disappointed in the amount of action, ultimately feeling that what was promised to me never came to fruition. The gunplay is decent, but unremarkable. Director Shaky Gonzalez (awesome name!) fails to invigorate his action scenes with the necessary kick to distinguish his stuff from other generic shoot 'em ups. If you've ever seen a sequence involving multiple characters firing guns at each other in both hands, then you've likely seen what Pistoleros has to offer you. The gun choreography is sadly uninspired. The fisticuffs are a little more rollicking, thanks in no small part to the physical skills of the actors, but like the ho-hum gun battles, there's not enough to elevate the film to something grater than is -- an average import actioner.
As disappointing as the mayhem is, Pistoleros earns positive marks for its sense of humor and inventive storytelling. This isn't a hardcore street drama, but more a black comedy starring a bunch of ill-tempered greedy a-holes with guns. There aren't any laugh-out-loud moments, per se, but the atmosphere is loose and fun. And like Nolan's narrative tactic in The Prestige Gonzalez utilizes a double-flashback approach. Surprisingly, it works well. It's interesting, adds something to a featherweight plot and doesn't feel needlessly tacky.
A no-frills DVD from TLA: the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer features washed-out color levels and soft picture quality, but it could have been a lot worse. The 5.1 mix is adequate, though it did little to shake my living room and only the original trailer and a still gallery reside in the extras bin.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: TLA Releasing
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Danish)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Still Gallery