Sunday, August 21, 2016
THE SYLVESTER SEMESTER PART II: Get Carter (2000)
Get Carter,” you’re essentially seeing Sylvester Stallone resigning himself to what his career was circa the year 2000. His latest bid for critical respectability, 1997’s “Cop Land,” did not work out the way he’d hoped. In a few years, he’d be starring in direct-to-video releases. Considering he’d co-headline 2001’s “Driven” with another actor, “Get Carter” would be his last leading role to get a theatrical release for quite a while. Sly would spend the next six years in the Hollywood wilderness, more punchline then superstar. A remake of a British cult classic from the seventies, “Get Carter” would flop with both critics and audiences.
Las Vegas mob enforcer Jack Carter doesn’t have many friends. He’s sleeping with his mob boss’ girlfriend but, otherwise, he’s fairly antisocial. When he receives the news that his brother is dead, he suddenly feels a responsible to his extended family. Upon returning to his childhood home town, he begins to suspect that his brother’s death was not accidental. While searching for answers, he makes enemies with the local criminal element. In order to avenge his brother’s murder, Carter uncovers a conspiracy that ties in with a local tech millionaire and some old enemies.
The point of the ’71 original – the contrast between the deeply inglorious gangster violence with an idyllic small town setting – is wasted by placing the remake is an urban area and making the violence into standard action movie theatrics.
“Get Carter” is so clearly a product of the year 2000. The soundtrack is composed primarily of obnoxious techno music. Any time an action scene kicks in, wholly inappropriate songs will blare out of your TV's speakers. Stephen Kay’s direction is equally poor. The action scenes are filled with shaky-cam direction that induces sea sickness in viewers and annoyance in action fanatics. A car scene is especially difficult to follow, the camera spinning around spasmodically with little concern for coherence. Only a handful of Kay’s stylistic flourishes are interesting at all. Such as a scene where Sly rightfully guesses what his opponents will do next, within the cramped confines of an elevator. This was only Kay’s second film. He’d follow it up, five years later, with mall horror entry “Boogeyman” and a string of TV movies about serial killers.
“Get Carter,” at the very least, has a loaded supporting cast. Mickey Rourke is at maximum sleaziness as the pornographer that emerges as the story’s primary villain. Alan Cumming has a decent part as an asshole tech tycoon. The part certainly calls upon his strength for being a squirmy weasel. John C. McGinley has a showy part as Carter’s eccentric partner, who quickly turns on him. Rachael Leigh Cook plays the imperiled niece. Though given little to do, Cook shines during the slower moments with Sly. Miranda Richardson, as the deceased brother’s wife, and Rhona Mitra, as a local prostitute, thanklessly go through the motions. That’s more then Gretchen Moll gets, as her only scene has her lounging in bed in lingerie. (She goes uncredited, as does Tom Sizemore as Stallone’s employer.) Lastly, Michael Caine – the original Jack Carter – appears in a few scene. It’s interesting to have such a direct contrast between Caine’s earlier days as an action star and his latter career as an avuncular character actor. Sadly, his role in the script is fairly inessential.
[THE STALLOWNAGE OF SLY: 4 outta 5]
 Frank Stallone or Frank Stallone-esque Inspirational Music
[X] Incapacitates or Kills Someone With His Body
[X] Shows Off Buffness
[X] Social Outcast [Anti-Social Mob Enforcer]
[X] Sweaty, Veiny Yelling