Main cast: Christopher Meloni (Agent Jonathan Montgomery), Dave Bautista (Stockwell), Adrian Grenier (Wells), Jonathon Schaech (Mims), Bruce Willis (Jeffrey Hubert)
Director: Steven C Miller
Firstly, don’t do like I did and watch this film in Malaysian theaters – for reasons only the censors would know, several pivotal scenes (which do not contain sex stuff or other things these people would usually cut out) are removed, making this movie really incoherent as a result. I’m not proud of this, but I found a clear version of this movie on an illegal source and watched it after coming home from the theater absolutely befuddled, and things are a little clearer as a result. Then again, I have already paid to watch this film, only to get a mangled corpse of a flick, so I suppose it’s not too much of a crime to watch an illegally obtained but whole version to make sense of everything.
The movie is still horrific, though.
So, Marauders. Basically, we have a bunch of masked guys running around robbing the banks owned by Jeffrey Hubert, a well-connected dude with ties to various politicians, and our FBI fellow Jonathan Montgomery is called in to lead the investigation team. He has his usual wisecracking, gruff sidekick cliché Stockwell and the new kid that just came on board, Wells. Complicating matters is the fact that the whole thing may have already been tampered with by Mims, a cop who may or may not be dirty – he has a rather unhappy history with Jonathan. Will the good guys catch the bad guys? Who are the bad guys here anyway, as it soon becomes apparent that Hubert has his own pile of dirty laundry to hide?
Boy, even after watching the non-mangled movie, the whole thing still feels like bad amateur hour. The first thing that strikes me is how try-hard the dialogues are in this movie. Scriptwriters Michael Cody and Chris Sivertson pepper the whole thing with expletives and hard man talk, but the whole thing just ends up like the work of some kid whose idea of “hard boiled talk” comes from too many bad comics and pulp fiction. Nobody here holds an even a little realistic conversation – everyone just postures.
The movie is also crammed with obvious, now so tired clichés. The phone rings to interrupt important conversations, just to drag things out longer. The TV always shows a news segment relevant to whatever the guys in the scene are talking about. The bad guys can shoot dead right in the center some folk standing a mile away, but they can’t even place a bullet into our main characters who are practically just in front of them. People walk slow motion for no reason whatsoever.
And it also doesn’t make sense. Politicians keep documents incriminating themselves in the safety deposit box of their neighborhood bank instead of, say, somewhere in Switzerland? And none of them are clamoring to remove those things after the bank first got hit?
Also, it is shockingly incompetent. Side plots, red herrings, and plot twists that go nowhere are crammed into this movie. There is hardly any decent character interaction or development – everyone is too busy posturing or getting their constant close-ups on the camera (this movie really loves zooming in on the faces of the men when they are talking, not that I am complaining since the guys are easy on the eyes) – so the end “twist” feels flat and forced.
The movie is often deliberately opaque; it is as if the director is cackling happily as he imagines people watching this movie again and again to work out things, and I’m not sure if that makes him awesomely self-confident or just sadly delusional. Nobody should watch this movie even once, much less a few times, because it is a shoddily cobbled-together montage of clichés that manages to be both pretentious and stupid. Marauders is more moronic than anything else.
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