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July 31, 2013

Movie Review: Prince of the City (2012)

What the hell happened to Michael Madsen? How is it his talent has ended up here, fallen into the gutter and soaking in the slimy run-off of shitty movies? What happened to Mr. Blond, dammit? That’s not to say he’s not working. Look at his resume at IMDB. He’s a got a shit ton of films under his belt. I’m just saying quantity does not equal quality.

In Prince of the City, we meet Prince (yes, that’s his real name but no, he ain’t no bad-ass musician), the adopted son of a corporate mogul (you’ll have to forgive me because most of the characters in the film are Malaysian and I couldn’t pronounce let alone remember their names so I might mix them up). Dad wants to make Prince the new CEO, much to the chagrin of his birth son, Putra. That’s okay, though. Putra has plans of his own. When his father won’t reconsider appointing him as CEO, Putra shoots him. He then hires an assassin to murder Prince’s girlfriend, Adele (the other mayonnaise face in this flick besides Madsen), and sets Prince up as the main suspect in her death and their dad’s.

On the lamb and without much hope, Prince scrapes by a meager living in France or Germany or whatever. Cue Mr. Carlton (Michael Madsen). He was an associate of Prince’s dad (read: mobster connection that weeded out the corporation’s competition through brute force, torture, and murder) and would like to keep his ties active but with Prince at the helm, not Putra. There are only two rules: listen to what Mr. Carlton says and don’t talk to anyone you’ve ever known back home. That’ll mess up The Plan.

Once back in Malaysia, Prince immediately breaks the two rules. Carlton gives him a free pass – this time – and gets back on the plan to reinstate Prince as the CEO while also helping Prince exact revenge on Putra. Carlton’s enforcer, Iskandar, helps Prince to not be such a whiny pussy all the time but seems like he’d rather just have Prince out of the way so he can kick some major ass.

Eventually Prince, Carlton, Iskandar, and a crack team of hooligans intercept a drug/money trade off organized by Putra. They walk off with all the drugs and all the money, killing Putra’s men in the process, and thereby damaging Putra’s reputation in the criminal underworld. Oh noes!

Prince finally confronts Putra. First they’ve got guns but then decide to put them down and ‘fight like the old days’. With their man fists! Then, of course, Putra grabs his gun mid-fight but not before Prince can grab his and shoot Putra in the chest. Yay for revenge! Now that Prince is back in the CEO spot, Carlton pays him a visit to confirm the standing business arrangement he had with Prince’s father. Unfortunately, Prince would like to honor his late father’s last wish – to become a legitimate corporation with no ties to all those nasty gangsters and bad guys. You know, like you, Carlton. But hey, thanks for helping me get revenge on my douche canoe brother, though. Take care now. Bye, bye then.

I’m beginning to understand why I’ve never heard of Julian Cheah (the star and producer). He has absolutely NO PRESENCE on screen. He can’t act; he can’t emote; he’s completely awkward when delivering his lines. It didn’t help that the editor did such a crap job of splicing the scenes together, leaving Julian and/or the other horrid actors sitting and staring at each other as they waited for the director to yell ‘cut’. Tara Wallace (Adele) was so painful to watch. If it’s possible, she was even worse than Julian. Her death was as welcome as an electric blanket turned up to 11 in the middle of an arctic expedition.

The Enforcer was fun. I’m not saying his fighting style was all that great but it was good enough. You could tell he enjoyed the shooting and fighting and killing so his scenes were enjoyable to watch. Mostly. Michael Madsen, of course, was the shining star in this black pit. He’s great as a gangster (he’s very good at playing the bad guy as we all know) and even though his voice is like a 70-year old smoker with a throat full of gravel, it’s hard not to love every minute he’s on the screen.

What made me laugh (unintentionally, I'm sure) were the sound effects. Every fight scene was like the old chop-socky movies of the 70s replete with overly loud punches and the flapping coat sounds every time someone spun after getting a roundhouse kick to the face. If they’d thrown in a few Wilhelm screams I would have died laughing. I bet there'd be a few choice scenes for those screaming goats, too.

Madsen can’t save this limp ‘action’ flick so I’d avoid it and watch Reservoir Dogs instead.

1/2 (out of 5) Hatchets

1 comment:

  1. I beg to differ from the review, which I feel extremely biased and let me explain why.

    Firstly, the reviewer has never heard of Julian Cheah therefore she already has a "prescribed" view of the latter's acting ability and his so called screen presence. You want to talk about screen presence? Did Andy lau had any screen presence before he was famous?

    Secondly, she totally misunderstood the character Julian was trying to portray.Think pokerface.The so called lack of emotion and awkwardness of speech was a deliberate attempt to emphasize the expression in his eyes. This trait, the ability to draw audiences into the role without the need for over the top emotion is very rare in actors, something that I see in Julian. It's all about appreciating the actor and the intended role. Name me a guy who thought Tony Leung was stiff in his roles and I can name you 10 who feels otherwise. The list goes on.

    In closing, I felt Julian sunk himself into the role very well, portraying a cool, calculated man even in the face of impending demise. A truly good movie is like fine art. It's something that not everyone can appreciate.

    That being said, one man's meat is, in this case, another women's poison.