Savages is a 2012 American action thriller film directed by Oliver Stone. It is based on the novel of the same name by Don Winslow. The screenplay was written by Stone, Winslow, and Shane Salerno. The film was released on July 6, 2012, and features an ensemble cast including Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Benicio del Toro and John Travolta.
Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a University of California, Berkeley graduate, and Chon (Taylor Kitsch), a former U.S. Navy SEALare top weed growers, their product is the best in the business. Ben provides the brain and Chon the brawn as they run their operation successfully and relatively peacefully. They also share a girlfriend Ophelia (Blake Lively) and this threeway relationship works well. One day they are approached by representatives of Elena Sánchez (Salma Hayek) of the Baja Cartel. She wants to go into business with them. Ben and Chon do not want to be involved with a cartel so Elena sends her henchman Lado, (Benicio del Toro) to kidnap Ophelia. Following the kidnap, the duo work with a corrupt DEA agent, played by John Travolta to fight back against the cartel and rescue Ophelia.
What Is Good About The Movie:
Savages is Oliver Stone doing what he should have done a long time ago: making a tricky, amoral, down-and-dirty crime thriller that's blessedly free of any social, topical, or political relevance. How liberated from an agenda is this movie? You can feel how alive Stone is to the material. He stamps every scene with his darkly combustible cinematic personality. Based on a novel by Don Winslow, Savages is grandiose underworld pulp staged with screw-tightening skill and a taste for nasty kicks that spills over into sadism and dread.
The film is narrated, in a Sunset Boulevard-meets-Kill Bill way, by Ophelia (Blake Lively), known as O, a free-spirited California blonde who lives with, and loves, two guys and is their anything-goes siren-goddess. Chon (Taylor Kitsch), a scarred, sexy hunk of an Afghanistan war vet, is the tougher and more volatile of the men. Stone presents some bravura set pieces, from a pulse-quickening encounter with a highway cop to an incendiary multivehicle heist to every scene with Benicio Del Toro as a very scary sociopath. As for Taylor Kitsch, he wipes away any lingering John Carter cobwebs with his explosive performance, and John Travolta is funny and desperate as a DEA agent up to his ears in slime.
The three best characters in Savages are Benicio Del Toro’s slimy cartel enforcer, Salma Hayek’s mob boss, and a sleazy DEA agent played by John Travolta, and they’re the bad guys.
With a thick, bushy mustache and sporting an Elvis-styled pompadour, del Toro gives one of the most fascinatingly scuzzy performances of his career; Oliver Stone finally puts Travolta’s goofball tendencies to good use by casting him in what amounts to the comic relief role of the movie as a strained, high-pitched bad cop; and Salma Hayek proves that she was always more than a fantastic body by chewing the scenery as a terribly insecure mob boss. The rest of the cast acquit themselves nicely – there isn’t a bad performance in the movie – but Hayek, Del Toro, and Travolta get the most wildly entertaining characters, and I wish there was more of them.
What Is Bad About The Movie:
Unfortunately, Savages mostly focuses on its three exciting-as-flat-soda main characters as they attempt to reunite and continue their happily hedonistic lifestyle.