Sunday, June 12, 2016

Made Men

MADE MEN is the reason some film buffs dig through the bargain bins filled with cheap, obscure direct-to-video action movies. Directed by Louis Morneau (BATS), MADE MEN received no theatrical distribution, even though it features a name cast, exciting action sequences, good humor, and production credits by Richard Donner (LETHAL WEAPON) and Joel Silver (DIE HARD).

It eventually bogs down in a series of monotonous gunshots, last-minute rescues, pistols that never run out of ammo, and probably one twist too many, but MADE MEN is still a delightful sleeper for action fans who like wiseass humor and quirky characterizations mixed with their explosions.

Jim Belushi (RED HEAT) is funny as a character right in his wheelhouse: Bill “The Mouth” Manucci, who scammed $12 million from a Chicago mobster, ratted him out to the Feds, and moved to a dusty Oklahoma farmhouse with his sexy wife Debra (Vanessa Angel from KINGPIN) under the Witness Protection Program. The Syndicate finds out where he is and sends four assassins to kill Bill and retrieve the dough. The Mouth is harder to kill than predicted, and ends up on the run from not only the mob’s gunsels, but also a gang of hillbilly drug dealers led by Steve Railsback (THE STUNT MAN) and the local Southern sheriff, played deliciously by the very Welsh Timothy Dalton (THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS).

The screenplay by television veterans Robert Franke (CBS’ THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN) and SMALLVILLE’s Alfred Gough and Miles Millar doesn’t have enough story for 91 minutes, but the boisterous performances and slick action make up for any script deficiencies. Even though Belushi’s character is a liar and a schemer, he wouldn’t really hurt anyone, and the actor does a fine job getting the audience on his side. Dalton is a real gas, taking a role he seems miscast in and pretty much stealing the picture with it. The best performance, however, is by Michael Beach (SONS OF ANARCHY), who projects both humor and menace as a hit man with unexpected depth.

1 comment:

Rod Barnett said...

Saw this one a few years ago and was just as surprised as you. It really is pretty damned good and I'll watch Dalton in anything.