The Pitch: “Let’s get a name director, a first-rate cast and film an adaptation of Don Winslow’s Savages.”
The Overview: Ben (a pacifist) and Chon (ex-military) are best friends who share a thriving marijuana business and a woman named Ophelia. The relationship works as well as their multi-million dollar pot business. All is paradise until a brutal Mexican cartel (is that redundant?) decides to move in on their pot trade. When Ben and Chon refuse their offer, the cartel kidnaps Ophelia. Nothing will stop Ben and Chon from getting her back.
The Good: The novel by Don Winslow provides a solid foundation. The screenplay by Shane Salerno, Don Winslow and Olver Stone isn’t afraid to make changes to the great source material. The cast: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, and Salma Hayek are excellent in their roles. Benicio Del Toro and John Travolta are as well, and own almost every scene they’re in. Oliver Stone delivers.
The Bad: The things that happen to folks that mess with a Mexican cartel. Don’t mess with a Mexican cartel. (Sounds like a commericial for direct tv, doesn’t it?)
The Ugly: Keep an eye out for what happens when “traitors” are bull-whipped. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.