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Directed by Adam Bhala Lough.
Written by Adam Bhala Lough.
Starring Nick Cannon, Paul Dano, Mark Webber, and Regine Nehy.
Release Year:  ?

Review Date:  1/30/07


By far the worst film I saw at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, "Weapons" smells just like "Alpha Dog", the 2006 Sundance entry featuring white kids that talk black, random violence, random high school and post-high-school kids partying and a generally bad film experience.  And, the best part?  "Weapons" was bought near the end of the festival, guaranteeing that someone will allow this horseshit to be shown in theaters this year.

"Weapons" is broken up into a couple of different parts, but in giving us the end first and then guiding us through how we got there (a theme so prevalent at this year's festival that I'm starting to wonder if even indie feature films have run out of originality), this is where we begin:  Reggie (Nick Cannon, doing his first adult feature) gets his head blown off with a shotgun while eating lunch at a burger joint.  Backtracking a bit, we learn that this may be a revenge killing, in response to Reggie's crew killing a hip-hopping local kid named Jason (Riley Smith) over the possible rape of Reggie's sister (Regine Nehy).  This rape may or may not have happened at a party at that local kid's house, where classic loser Chris (Paul Dano) was videotaping some of the events at that party...all the while, Sean (Mark Webber) has come back to town to hang with his old buddies Chris and Jason and he comes in at just the wrong window of time, indeed.

At Sundance, there is certainly at least one good telltale sign that a movie was generally not liked by the audience if it aired before 10 PM--if no one stays for the Q&A with the director after the movie was over, that is NOT a good sign.  "Weapons" is a mess--its violence is stunning, and I would be very surprised if the ratings board doesn't butcher this puppy and drop it down from what will certainly be an NC-17 if this were to go to print as-is.  The hop-around timeline is overdone these days, but that's still kind-of okay if what is happening is worth watching, and most of "Weapons" features us following around the characters from one meaningless activity to another before violence erupts around it.  Almost all of the acting here is bad; Cannon is out of his league here, Dano is a sap, Webber is no good, Nehy is predictably confused as the naive teenager but that doesn't make her work solid...just bad all around.  The soundtrack doesn't work; the sights and sounds of XXX, USA are quite generic and add nothing to the events at hand.

Most of all, "Weapons" is just torture to sit through; I found myself wanting to be in another movie almost from the start.  I will remind you when this movie opens to avoid it; save for some initial promise in the first 20 minutes, this is just poor and it leads me to wonder how films really are selected for Sundance.  Nearly 7,000 feature films and documentaries were submitted, and this is one of the top 120 to make it???

Rating:  Rental


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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 "Office Space"). 

"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, 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 half stars." 

"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 Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09