stand-off-whole-lotta-sole-movie-review

The movie is called Stand Off. It’s a simple title. Two words only. A simple title for simple men. Its the kind of movie that you might see (insert expendables cast member here) in.

Before you start spewing out one-liners you want be interested to know this movie is actually called Whole Lotta Sole worldwide. And only in the US is it called Stand Off. What a shame. It’s quite different than a throw away action flick as it’s marketed to simple American minds.

The basic setup is a guy who has a gambling problem to a mobster has to raise some money fast or the mobster will take his child as payment. Well this guy decides to rob a fish market, hence the original title of the movie, and things go horribly wrong. Throw in some funny characters and interesting ideas and what you have is good time in the theater.

It might not be the most memorable movie out there. It’s clearly more of a drama and odd comedy than an action movie. The film stars Brendan Fraser and Colm Meaney. But actually the main protagonist is the robber played by Martin McCann, who is all but forgettable.

In fact in watching the movie I found myself more enjoying the bit players and their antics more than caring about McCann or Fraser’s dealings. The bit players are what you are left resembling and seeing Colm Meaney is always a good time.

So if you go into this movie don’t expect and action movie. It does deal with some harsh things and what’s great is the action bits are not mixing with the comedy bits as they so often did in movies like The Mummy, which Fraser is famous for. It’s more of a character study, one that has few characters to really attach to. It might not get many replays, but its fun while it lasts. The highlights once again being the bit characters such as a looney gypsies. Give it a shot, it’s got some fun to it.

Best Actor : Bit Players

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You know your film has some problems when the most memorable characters are the bit players or sub-stories within. There is a family of gypsy hobos that have some great antics. A whole series could be made of them and their interactions in city life. It’s as if the side parts, the transitions or parts showing what Ireland is about and their humor is the highlight of this movie.

Colm Meaney does his thing and is quite good. But he does not have much to play off. His son is all forgettable and bland. And there really is not much he does in interacting with the criminals or hostages later on, so I picked the bit players as best in this film.

Worst Actor : Martin McCann as Jim

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At first I was going to pick Brendan Fraser as the worst actor but it made me think as why he is so bad might be because who he is acting off of. Martin McCann plays the lead protagonist and who the film is really about. He’s the robber of the fish market and supposed son of Brendan Fraser, ya that was kind of a loose plot device that did not really work.

For one Jim looks nothing like Fraser other than being a male. And later it’s kind of forced upon Fraser that he accepts he is his son. I thought it was just an act so they would not get murdered and make his antique shop look like a blood soaked modern art painting, but they kept going with it.

I think the idea was to play father and son of the criminals’ vs father and son vs the cop and his son. That could work, if they interacted with each other more. I don’t know. But McCann is just dull. He does not seem very angry when he gets mad. Nor does he seem convincing that he will actually kill if he has to, he simply looks like he’s acting.

Fraser has scenes without McCann and he’s just kind of there. He looks visually unhealthy in this movie. An especially pale white and bloated. He just is going through the motions and seems inconsistent.

The biggest problem is was his character meant to be serious or funny. He just seems out of place. I fear he was only cast to get top billing to promote the film in other countries than Europe, which is a shame. Because everybody else fits more or less but Fraser is more of an outcast than his character even plays in the film.

Best Scene : Bathroom Break

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During the police besiegement the robber Jim is trying to figure out what to do. It’s kind of spotty and feels like a few different movies here. But one scene is great where he is going to put the group into the bathroom so he can think by himself for a bit.

Well he starts to put them in the room and the two children that caught a ride underneath a couch from earlier have to go to the bathroom and one by one they go but they both take a huge dump in the room they have to go in. It’s a bit silly and totally breaks the tension and pacing of being in a full on BBC covered police standoff. But it was fun to watch.

Worst Scene : Rocket Attack

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There are a lot of kind of weird moments in this movie. It’s kind of fighting its Irish comedy roots I think. But one lackluster part was the huge build up to the siege of the mobsters on the antique building where they group is dug into. They get a big rocket and we expect a big police battle to commence and something interesting.

But nope. They fire the rockets and leave. Then the movie just kind of wraps up. It’s like they spent the whole budget on the explosions and did not have any left to film a proper chase or clever way to catch the mobster.

There was a buildup of what was in this bag and how important it was as well. But it turns out it was just some stamps and coins he stole. While I guess that’s bad for him, there is just no connection to the Colm’s character or past history to pull from. So we don’t really care and all the build-up to the mob boss and police detective is lost. Wasted potential.

Improvements

Here is a list of things I would change if I were in the director chair and dated a hot super-model.

1st – Lead Change: Fraser has to go. I’d get another Irish actor in there. We don’t need to pander to America. You are too out of place.

2nd – Plot Change: I’d have Jim and the police detective’s son have a friendship, they both would be gay. Then Joe and the police detective are best friends. Then when the siege happens both are conflicted between doing their job, their relationship with their son and doing the right thing. It would make us care maybe more about all four of them.

3rd – Editing: I’d lose the horrible yellow puke color correction. It does not add to the film at all. It’s not that kind of film and that look is gross as can be. It’s not as bad as in some movies but still a big distraction that is not needed.

4th– Mob Boss: The bag that he loses needs to have some kind of connection to the police chief. It could be the motivation for him trying to catch him. Maybe dirt on his family or some big town secret. Maybe they are secretly brothers or something. He needs to have a bigger threat at the end of the movie.

5Th More Townsfolk: I like the quirky other characters, let’s find a way to put them in the movie more.

6th Lead Change: McCann just does not have it. A strong character actor is what’s needed.

7th Leave Antique Shop: The area is quite small, but I feel the plot slowed down too much. We quickly explored the shop. Maybe if they found funny ways to use the goods in the shop for something. Treat it as a character too. But otherwise leave the shop, maybe have them on the run and interacting with other townsfolk as they try to recover the bag somewhere? Maybe the bag had directions to a stash they are trying to get.

Hits
– A nice fun little film.
– Got the transporter chief from Star Trek!
– Does not mix humor and violent action!

Misses
-Brendan Fraser is just kind of there.
-Characters not very memorable.
-Father son story is lost to bad devices.

Rating C

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