Friday, May 16, 2014

THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987)

In 1930 Al Capone (Robert De Niro) was one of the most powerful gangsters in America.  Most of his power, wealth and influence came from the US government's brilliant decision to make booze illegal.  Thanks to Prohibition organized crime syndicates got a massive boost.  It's estimated that, during the Prohibition, the illegal alcohol beverage industry averaged $3 billion per year in illegal untaxed income!  Rather than just repealing Prohibition the government sends in Prohibition agent Kevin Costner to take down Capone.  Costner quickly learns that Capone has the police in his back pocket, so he assembles a tight-knit group of agents that a willing to risk everything to stop Capone illegal shenanigans.  He calls them...Hero Squad, I mean, The Untouchables. 

That sounds exciting...a government-backed special agent versus a ruthless gangster who has more money than god.  If it was told in a cynical, dark and extremely violent way it would be awesome!  Instead Brian De Palma's THE UNTOUCHABLES just isn't very good.  The acting is laughable (1987 must have been an absolute crap year for movies for Sean Connery to actually win an Academy Award for his totally average performance.  Then again the award probably should have just gone to R. Lee Ermey for FULL METAL JACKET), the music (while by itself is fine) is sometimes jarringly out of place in this film (example: the happy sounding music during the horse riding scene...the nerdy accountant gleefully yelling "Woooooo!!!" didn't help things either), the story is telegraphed way in advance and has zero tension...and the direction!  Ohh brother. I've never been an admirer of De Palma and this film does nothing to change that.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but the entire way this movie looked just irritated me.  It looked like a movie.  Staged and unnatural.

Also for a movie being about Al Capone there's very little Al Capone in the film.  I think he had like 6 - 7 scenes total and none of them were very long.  Skip it. If you need me I'll be in my room watching Boardwalk Empire.
 The guy in the middle of the screen looks like he twisted his ankle.

 "Yearbook"?  Don't you mean "textbook"?

 After the hand grenade lands for the second(!) time the explosion comes from out of the ground beside it.