Generic brands have revolutionized consumer products from drugs to
cigarettes, so why not movies? Maybe the multiplexes of the future will
dispense with marquee titles in favor of generic packaging labels like
Comedy, Romance and Action. If so, GET CARTER would appear to be a
trend setter, as you couldn't find a more generic action thriller than
GET CARTER. Its dialog is superfluous. What little impact the movie
has is due solely to its clichéd images.
The problem with this line of reasoning is that movies like GET CARTER,
starring pricey stars like Sylvester Stallone, can't be made on a
pittance, so the tickets have to be full price if there is ever to be
any hope of recouping the financial backers' investments. And, if
moviegoers are required to pay about nine bucks a ticket for a bad movie
like GET CARTER, why wouldn't they choose instead a great one, like
ALMOST FAMOUS, for the same price?
GET CARTER, as you may know, is a remake of perhaps the best known film
of director Mike Hodges (CROUPIER). The original in 1971 starred
Michael Caine as Jack Carter. Caine, replaced by Sylvester Stallone,
gets a cameo part in this version, which is directed by Stephen T. Kay
(the writer of THE MOD SQUAD remake) and written by David McKenna (BODY
SHOTS). The recent résumés alone of the director and writer should give
As the story opens, Carter is attending the funeral of his estranged
brother, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a fossilized
action hero, Stallone just stares and broods when he's not hitting
Mickey Rourke, an actor whose mere presence in a movie immediately
raises a big red flag in my mind, plays Carter's nemesis, Cyrus Paice.
Cyrus, with his ubiquitous dark sunglasses framed in iridescent green,
shares a trait with Carter. With their aging muscles and bulging veins,
they look like a couple of old lifeguards who are about to OD from too
many late nights at the gym.
The women are all given throw away parts, Miranda Richardson as Carter's
sister-in-law, Rachael Leigh Cook as his niece and Gretchen Mol as
Carter's love interest. The important roles go to the boys with their
toys, who get to chase in fast cars, shoot noisy guns and fight with big
The movie is set, incongruously, in that hotbed of crime, that notorious
underworld city of latte lovers and dot-com darlings -- Seattle! As a
wiry and flagrantly wealthy software geek, Alan Cumming modestly informs
Carter that "I'm the all powerful ruler of time and space." See what
excessive caffeine will do to your brain.
Before annihilating the first guy to get in his way, Carter tells him,
"You really don't want to know me." I completely agree. You don't want
to waste your time and money getting to know Jack Carter, especially
when the movie in the next screen would have to be better.
GET CARTER runs a long 1:55. It is rated R for violence, language, some
sexuality and drug content and would be acceptable for older teenagers.
Copyright © 2000 Steve Rhodes