Anchor Bay // 2010 // 104 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 4th, 2012
A city under siege. A man with nothing to lose.
On the surface, Sinners and Saints looked to be right in my wheelhouse: gritty violence, lone-wolf cop with anger issues, a team of mercenaries to systematically shoot in their dumb faces. And yet...
Sean Riley (Johnny Strong, The Fast and the Furious) makes his living getting into violent gunfights with the scumbags of the New Orleans. The captain of his precinct is starting to think Riley is off his rocker, considering the overwhelming number of corpses he's left in his wake. But before he gets sent to the department shrink, a more pressing matter arises: someone's running around the Big Easy burning people to death and Riley thinks the murders might be connected to a shady friend of his. Rogue security firm employees are on the loose, hunting for something incriminating, and it will fall to Sean and his new family-man partner to open fire and snuff out as many fools as possible.
I was pulling for this movie. There were more than a few elements in place that really appealed to me, but in the end Sinners and Saints fell victim to its own economy. This is a low-budget film and, thanks to some iffy acting chops and stylistic filming decisions, the good stuff loses its traction.
Since it's a New Year, let's ring it in with the positives before we start dropping deuces all over the place.
Johnny Strong is pretty cool.
His name sounds made up, but the actor has the physical presence and steely glower to carry an action movie. His violence comes mainly from his handgun and his lone dose of mortal combat is poorly edited, but he smokes dudes with style and emanates bad-assness.
The villains are detestable.
Granted, the international mercenary angle has been sucked dry. Still, they set people on fire and kill kids, so F 'em.
The action is hard-R and largely practical.
Arterial spray tends to be computer-generated and I suppose I'm just going to have to come to grips with this lamentable fact. But the gun squibs are real and the someone's off to the side, behind the camera, lighting off rounds. I'll take it.
Now the downers...
The acting is terrible.
I don't need much out of the cast of an actioner, but aside from Strong grimacing there's a lot of amateur hour going on. Tom Berenger (Major League) plays the hapless captain and chews through his lines like a shark on a sea lion; Costas Mandylor (Saw IV) turns into a cartoon villain as head of the mercenaries; and Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy), one of my favorite actors on TV, is SPOILER ALERT! whacked in the first few minutes.
Director William Kaufman is over-eager.
Too many bad angles, too many jump cuts, and some odd special effects during the harrowing scenes. A distracting endeavor.
Okay, fine...Upon further review, the bad guys are dumb-asses.
They kill people horribly, but their motivation is tired and clichéd. Despite their so-called military-grade tactics and training, these guys enjoy wandering out into the wide-open to absorb gunfire like tools.
Sinners and Saints (Blu-ray) is given a highly-detailed 2.35:1/1080p widescreen transfer whose imagery is so clear it gives the film a weird Spartan feel. The visuals are joined by a suitably aggressive and enveloping 5.1 Dolby TrueHD mix, a lengthy making-of featurette, and some deleted scenes.
Decent action and a cool antihero are swallowed up by mediocrity. Bummer.
Close, but no victory cigar.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site