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Stand Off review
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Not just a generic B-movie, despite how it looks

For some reason, whichever company distributed this movie in North America decided to change its title from 'Whole Lotta Sole' (a reference to a fish market that's significant to the plot; I believe the film still has this title overseas) to the utterly generic 'Stand Off'. As if that wasn't enough -- the distributors also gave the movie a completely unremarkable (and rather misleading) cover, thus ensuring that at least half of the people who might come across it in the future will brush it off as some mindless B-movie before moving on to more interesting viewing options.

Which is kind of a shame, because 'Whole Lotta Sole' (oops, I mean, 'Stand Off') is actually a surprisingly not-bad film.

Since it's impossible to tell what the movie's about just by looking at its cover: 'Stand Off' stars Brendan Fraser as "Joe Maguire", an American hiding overseas in Belfast (after getting mixed up with the mob or somesuch back home) who winds up looking after an antique store -- then getting held hostage inside that very store, along with an interesting array of characters. Colm Meaney co-stars as a detective who attempts to resolve the hostage situation; most if not all of the rest of the cast members are (like Meaney) Irish.

Yes, I suppose 'Stand Off' is kind of a B-movie, but it's better than most B-movies; the film is quirky, lighthearted, fast-paced, and generally entertaining throughout. Meaney and the always-affable Fraser give good performances, and I quite enjoyed the Belfast setting (I didn't even mind that at least 70% of the movie takes place inside an antique store; I love antique stores!).

'Stand Off' isn't without its faults -- most notably the script, which has some good moments but gets clunky toward the end (I'll admit, I was half expecting a character to wail something like "There are better ways of going about this than by stripping away the dignity of your fellow man!" or some other embarrassing line; fortunately, it never gets *that* bad). The actors struggle a bit with some of the more "action"-y scenes (probably the fault of the script), and the movie's climactic scene is a bit... silly.

(A few reviewers on Netflix also complained about the actors' thick Irish accents, but the accents didn't bother me at all.)

Overall, 'Stand Off' is probably not a movie that will stick with me forever -- or even one that I'll necessarily watch again -- but it's a LOT better than its cover and title suggest, and worthy of a respectable 6/10.

Added by thaskett
4 years ago on 14 September 2015 06:44