Directed by Barry Levinson.
Written by Harley Peyton.
Starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett.
Release Year: 2001
Review Date: 10/17/01
I went over to the local AMC theaters near
my new place in San Fran to find out two harsh truths:
The matinee at this particular theater
was $7, not $5.
”Bandits” is a pretty bad movie.
“Wait,” said my movie partner of the
afternoon, Melissa Dodd. “You laughed at certain parts of it. Just
make sure to tell people what they need to do in order to enjoy the
film if they ever decide to go!”
So, I'll do that. To enjoy “Bandits”, this
is what you should do: watch the first 45 minutes of the
movie...right up until you meet Cate Blanchett's character
(creatively named “Kate”). Then, go call your mom, see how she is
doing, grab something to eat, use the restroom and play some video
games in the theater arcade. Then, come back and watch the final 15
If you don't do this, you will experience
what I call the “Gun in the Mouth” syndrome. That is when you get
bored watching a movie, and you are SO bored that you start patting
down your sides to see if you remembered to bring along a handgun.
“Bandits” starts off very well. Bank
robbers Joe (Bruce Willis) and Terry (Billy Bob Thornton) break out
of prison in Oregon and figure out a plan to make enough money to
move to Mexico and open a nightclub. Their plan is to kidnap bank
managers the night before they hit each respective bank, then get to
the bank early in the morning and use the managers' help to take all
the money in each institution. This earns them the nickname of “The
Sleepover Bandits.” And, up until the bank robbers meet Kate,
watching them get into disguise and robbing banks is fun, fast-paced
energy that works.
Then, you meet Kate, a scorned wife that
leaves her husband in a fit over a dinner of quail and just drives
until she happens to almost run over Terry in an intersection.
Blanchett (an Oscar nominee for her best role, as the star of
“Elizabeth”) is a great actress and she is a presence onscreen, but
her shockingly-similar-to-”Pearl Harbor” romance with both Terry AND
Joe destroys this film. I started patting down my sides at about
the 60-minute mark (the film carries on for a too-long 130 minutes)
when Joe and Kate started singing chick songs from the 80s in
tandem. During the second hour of the film, director Barry Levinson
(“Rain Man”, for God's sake!!) almost totally forgets to even show
us bank robberies any more, because he is so caught up in the film's
romantic elements. I would have liked this romance a lot more if
the script had explained to me why Kate would sleep with a criminal
within the first four hours of their meeting based only on the fact
that he knows the words to her favorite sappy song. Come on!
And, both Melissa and I saw the ending
coming, even if it is kind of entertaining to watch, because the
movie gives it away in the first ten minutes of the film. Usually,
I am the type that doesn't see anything coming, so that should be a
sign that this film defines “predictable.” Also, Melissa thought
that Willis looked “pretty hot” in this movie...but all I could
think was, how old is he now? I had time to think about this during
the movie, during that second hour when I almost put a gun in my
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard