I haven't seen that many Oliver Stone movies so for those of you who are fans of him I can't say how this compares to his other works. I will say however, that this is a big improvement over his last movie Wall Street 2 which was a complete bore to me. This has both critics and people divided so I can't say if you might enjoy this or not but, if your looking for something groundbreaking, you won't find it here.
As much as I enjoyed this, there is nothing new you haven't seen before. This is your typical run-of-the-mill revenge flick but, it's the visual style and twists along the way that set it apart from most films in this genre. However, there are some bumps along the way. The first is Blake Lively. Personally, I don't find her to be a bad actress like so many people have but, her performance here isn't all that good and she hardly has any chemistry with her two male co-stars. This was a problem because they are, after all, fighting to get her back. The next thing is, sometimes during the movie it becomes unnecessarily convoluted, especially the beginning monologue from Blake Lively's character. Sure, it was clever but, it was so complex and it felt like it didn't fit with the movie. This reminded me of last year's Contraband where it had a simple story but they made it so convoluted for no reason. It's not as bad here but, there are times when it becomes hard to follow. Lastly, is the ending. This took me by surprise, I never read the book so I'm not sure if it ended the same way but, you'll either love it or hate it. I'm in the middle, it's no where near as bad as some people make it out to be but, on the other hand it could have done away with the violence. No, it's not that I can't handle violence or anything it's just, to explain the ending in greater detail would ruin it for some. Once you've seen it you'll understand. Other than these issues everything is was fine.
With the exception of Lively, the rest of the cast was good. Benicio Del Toro and Salma Hayek were the stand outs in my opinion. Even though there was hardly and chemistry between Lively and her male co-stars, Kitsch and Johnson share the nice buddy chemistry that's surprisingly lacking in many films today. Though I wasn't rooting for them to get Lively back, I was rooting for them to get out of this mess.
Most of the character's are surprisingly well-developed, don't get me wrong they're not 3-dimensional character's but, they're well-developed enough for me to care about them. Like I said, I didn't care for Lively's character but, I think that has to do with her performance rather than the character itself. Even though Hayke is bad here, I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for her as she loves her kids and she tries to keep them hidden for their own protection because of who she is but, they don't want anything to do with her even though she desperately wants to talk and see them all the time.
The movie is nicely-shot so no need to worry about the shaky-cam during the intense action sequences. We're also treated to some beautiful shots of California along the coast. The type of music for this kind of movie seems like it should be the heavy metal variety but, thankfully it's not. The music is nice and adds a nice touch throughout the movie.
Overall, this isn't a perfect movie. Blake Lively is a miscast, there's no chemistry between her and her two male counterparts, and the ending is a little disappointing. It's also more complex, which isn't a bad thing of course, but it doesn't fit well with something that's this straightforward and has a story as generic as this. Everything else is great, the performances from the rest of the cast, the action, the violence etc. This is a perfect movie for us adults and if you having nothing to do I'd definitely recommend this movie. Sure, it's messy but, it's entertaining and much better than a handful of movies within it's genre.