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DVD Review: "Knockaround Guys" (2002).
When movie lovers think of mob style movies, films like; "Scarface", "The Godfather" series, and "Goodfellas" probably come to mind. In the year 2002, another mob style film titled 'Knockaround Guys' was released. However, it's not your typical mob film. This film shows a side of the mob that is rarely shown on film. 'Knockaround Guys' was released in the year 2002, and was directed by directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien. The movie starred: Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Seth Green, Andy Davoli, Dennis Hopper, and John Malkovich. Other actors featured in the film included: Tom Noonan, Kevin Gage, and Shawn Doyle.
I recalled seeing a few previews for this movie on previous movies I had seen in 2001. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to seeing 'Knockaround Guys' until 2003. I didn't even own a DVD Player at the time, so I rented it from a local owned rental store on VHS. I really enjoyed this movie the first time I saw it. So much so, that I purchased it on DVD once I got my very first one. Today I'm going to give a review of Knockaround Guys. I hope you enjoy.
- "If they don't finish the job, their fathers will finish them".
- "How many friends can you trust with your life"?
- "Everywhere they go, they're sure to be a hit".
Knockaround Guys movie poster.
L-R: Andy Davoli, Seth Green, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel.
Movie synopsis and plot.
'Knockaround Guys' is crime style mob drama film that follows the story of four sons of mob bosses. The story is mainly centered around Matt 'Matty' Demaret(Barry Pepper), and his struggle to live up to the expectations of his mob boss father, Benny Chains(Dennis Hopper). When he is young boy, 'Matty' is given a test by his uncle and his father's under boss, Teddy Deserve(John Malkovich) to see if he is ready to become part of the mob side of the family.
Matty unfortunately fails the test that he is given, and grows up attempting live a life outside of the mob. However, due to his father's less than pristine reputation, he finds it hard to make it in the corporate world as well. Now an adult, 'Matty' pleads with both his father and uncle to give him another shot to prove himself worthy of being in the family. Thinking that he may possibly be ready now, Teddy Deserve talks Benny Chains into to letting Matty and three of his friends do a job for them.
The job involves Matty's childhood friend, Johnny Marbles(Seth Green) retrieving a bag of money from another state, and bringing it back to Matty to give to his father. However, things go wrong and Marbles ends up losing the bag of money. Matty enlists the help of his best friend, Taylor Reese(Vin Diesel), and Marbles' cousin Chris Scarpa(Andy Davoli) to help him retrieve the bag.
The three friends meet up with Marbles in a small remote town in Montana to find the bag. However, they quickly discover that the town is controlled by a crooked Sheriff(Tom Noonan), and the townspeople aren't very fond of the out-of-towners as well. The situations escalates, and Matty's Uncle Teddy comes into town to help his nephew retrieve the bag, and show Matty and his friends what being part of the family is about once and for all.
There are no room for mistakes in the mob, and Matty and his friends may end up finding this out the hard way. It all leads up to a shocking and unexpected twist ending where no one is safe. Friendships and family bonds will be broken.
Thoughts on the movie.
After doing some research on this movie, I found that production for this movie wrapped up back in 1999. That means that the movie was basically shelved for almost three years before it was finally released. This leads me to believe that New Line Cinema probably didn't believe in this film initially. Vin Diesel had gained some notoriety as an action star in the 2001 movie, "The Fast and the Furious", so maybe they decided to release this movie based on Diesel's momentum from that film. In my personal opinion, Vin Diesel does better in movies where he isn't the lead actor. He definitely isn't the lead in 'Knockaround Guys', and I think that helps the film.
From an acting perspective, Knockaround Guys was a decent film. Barry Pepper, who I classify as being the lead, was terrific in this movie. I felt like Pepper shined very well in this role. He really does well at portraying 'Matty', who is constantly battling within himself to prove himself of being worthy to his father. Dennis Hopper has limited screen time in this film, but him and Pepper are great at showing an obviously distant father/son relationship.
John Malkovich is great at playing Hopper's underboss, Teddy Deserve. However, I felt like his accent in the movie was a bit over the top. The accent is bearable though, since the film doesn't revolve solely around him. Seth Green has a few good scenes, and Andrew Davoli plays his role fairly well also. The story line isn't anything too complicated to understand, but these characters make it work.
Where other mob style movies show the glamorous lifestyle that mobsters live, that isn't shown in Knockaround Guys. This movie shows a side of the mob where things aren't always so glamorous, and the struggle to keep money flowing in can be difficult. I think this concept is something that many viewers could relate to, so money isn't expendable for most of us.
What were your thoughts on 'Knockaround Guys'?
I'm pretty certain by now you know I'm going to recommend this movie to anyone who has yet to see it. It's been around 10 years since this movie was released, so it shouldn't be hard to find it. It also should be fairly inexpensive as well. I gave this movie an 8 out of 10 rating on Internet Movie Database(iMDb). I think what makes Knockaround Guys a good film is that viewers can somewhat relate to the four sons in the movie. Many of us know what it's like for people to not believe in us, and feel like we have to continuously prove ourselves to others. If you enjoy crime dramas and mob style movies, Knockaround Guys is definitely for you. Thanks for reading.