Thursday, April 5, 2012

Oliver Stone's star-filled, and unapologetically R-rated Savages, the official 'adult popcorn film of summer 2012', gets a down-and-dirty trailer.

It used to be a custom of sorts to have at least one somewhat adult-skewing genre picture in any given summer, something to stand out for older audiences who liked their summer thrills with a bit less fantasy and a bit more gore and/or nudity.  Be it Wolf in 1994, A Time to Kill in 1996, Swordfish in 2001, The Road to Perdition in 2002, or Collateral in 2004 (along with, arguably The Manchurian Candidate redo), this once time-honored tradition somewhat went the way of the dinosaur as seemingly adult genre fare like Mr. and Mrs. SmithThe Da Vinci CodeLive Free or Die Hard and Salt got squeezed into the PG-13 zone and R-rated comedies like The Wedding Crashers, Tropic Thunder, and The Hangover compensated for the lack of truly R-rated action fare.  Aside from the likes of The Expendables in 2010, summer has pretty much been the place where everything is aimed at everyone for the last several years.  But Universal senses an opening, not only moving this seemingly trashy bit of pulp fiction into the summer, but slotting it three days after the debut of Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man.

Point being, helmed by Oliver Stone and starring a bazillion people of note, this looks like the kind of unapologetically sleazy and violent mainstream fare that seemed to have all-but vanished after the Columbine shootings in April 1999 and the resulting FCC crackdown on R-rated marketing in 2001.  We've got (deep breath) Blake Lively, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, John Travolta, Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Benicio Del Toro, Demián Bichir, and Emile Hirsch playing in the kind of adult-skewing star-driven genre film that has made a glorious comeback over the last few years. I could carp that this film basically looks like a variation on Double Dragon, and I could admit that I cringed at the trailer's attempts to both make Lively's hostage somehow empowered ('Hey look, she's firing a gun!') while appealing to adolescent rescue fantasy (the closing line for example) in what's supposed to be a mature-adult entertainment.  But this does look like a genuinely good time.  Of course, the last time Oliver Stone played in this sandbox, we got the downright terrible U-Turn, but 15 years is a long time ago.  Provided Universal was smart enough to not spend more than $45 million on this one, I imagine it will be a pretty big hit as parents drop their kids off at The Amazing Spider-Man and sample this proudly R-rated entertainment instead.  Anyway, Savages drops on July 6th.  As always, we'll see.  The poster is from JoBlo while the trailer comes from MTV.

Scott Mendelson

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