When I first heard that Oliver Stone was making Savages, a Mexican drug trafficking film starring Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively (Serena), Taylor Kitsch and Benicio Del Toro, I was all like, “Where do I line up?” And line up I did, plunking down my $12 to watch beautiful people shoot guns and take drugs with lots of sun-soaked fast-paced editing. Much to my chagrin, within the first 90 seconds, it was clear I’d made a huge mistake. But I waited another two hours before finally walking out — that’s right, I walked out.
Why? Let me break it down for you.
1. Terrible Dialogue Look no further than the opening scene involving ex-soldier Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and O (Blake Lively) having graphic chair sex, which featured Blake voice-overing the line “I have orgasms, he has wargasms.” Um — cue the over-the-top-eye-roll.
2. Clunky Characterization Blake Lively’s super-sensual character O (short for Ophelia, natch), is in a polyamorous relationship with pot dealers Chon and Ben (Aaron Johnson) who have a serious bromance happening of their own. But O’s basic function is as their shared sex toy — and she really enjoys it, a lot. I mean, her name is “O” — get it? (We get it.)
3. Benicio Del Toro’s Bizarre Mexican Accent Let’s ignore the mullet wig and porn star mustache his ruthless drug-trafficking assassin character sports, because once you think to yourself, “Te Quiero Taco Bell,” you will literally not be able to hear any line Benicio utters without laughing and then immediately wanting a chalupa combo meal. That’s right: Benicio Del Toro’s acting in Savages amounts to channelling the Taco Bell chihuahua. Benicio doesn’t always sound like this — so what gives?
4. Implausible Plotting OK — so the biggest baddest Mexican drug cartel is run by … Salma Hayek? Not played for irony or camp at all — she orchestrates multi-million dollar drug deals, tortures and beheadings from a mansion on beach where she’s continuously getting foot rubs and facials. In what world is this possible? In what world is she an imposing drug lord to be feared? (Though her haircut was fierce.)
5. Um, Literally NOTHING Happens By the time the second hour of Savages had eked by, I was mystified at how actually nothing could have really happened — I mean nothing. Things were essentially still at the same point plot-wise as they were around the 15- minute mark, except I cared even less what happened to any of the characters because they were all so boring. I began to think that if they all died, well then that would at least be something.
The fact is that I will never know if those characters lived or died — because I left. The decision to walk out came after yet another ridiculous plot development — this time to kidnap Salma Hayek’s daughter, a move which actually involved no progression of the story whatsoever. Being that this was an Oliver Stone film, I feared I could’ve been stuck there for another hour and a half, so I made a run for it.
My advice? If you want to see Blake Lively doing it with hot guys in a gritty action film — just watch The Town.