Savages ***

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“Savages” is the latest movie from director “Oliver Stone”. This movie is more in line with “Natural Born Killers” and “U-Turn” than it is with something like “JFK”. Over all it is a solid flick but I did have a problem with the ending that I think holds the movie back from being one of Stone’s best.

The story follows a pair of pot dealers in California played by Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Kitsch is Ben, a former Marine who takes care of the muscle side of the business and Johnson is Chon, who has a degree in botany and business. Together they use seeds that Kitsch smuggled in from Afghanistan that yields a particularly potent strain of marijuana.

Eventually the Mexican cartel moves in and proposes that they work for them and they all enjoy the profits. The offer is not negotiable apparently. When they refuse the offer they make plans to head off to Indonesia to flee the cartel.

They first converse with Dennis, a corrupt DEA agent played by John Travolta, who urges them to partner with the cartel. Meanwhile the girlfriend that they share, O, played by Blake Lively, is kidnapped by the cartel and used as collateral to force the partnership.

O is kept in some particularly horrible living conditions by a cartel enforcer played by Benicio Del Toro. The cartel itself is run by Elena Sanchez played by Salma Hayek.

From there the film becomes a series of grueling negotiations for the life of O as well as others who are dragged in to this mess. These scenes are the most interesting of the film.

There is also a routine series of shootings and violence that comes with this type of territory and Oliver Stone does not hold back on that front. At one point a man is tortured to the point that his eye is hanging out of it’s socket before he is set on fire.

My only gripe with the film is the ending. I do not want to get in to spoilers but I will say that I hate false endings. It is a waste of time to me. Why pull the rug out from underneath us for simple effect?

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