Get Carter (2000)
Dir: Stephen T. Kay
Star: Sylvester Stallone, Miranda Richardson, Mickey Rourke, Alan Cumming, Michael Caine
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 2000
Format: Video

Jack Carter is a Las Vegas mob enforcer who is traveling back to Seattle to go to his brother's funeral. More than that he is traveling back to find out how and why he died. In doing so he is about to open a can of worms that will lead to a painful trail of bloody revenge.

The 1971 film Get Carter starring Michael Caine is a British gangster classic. Its gritty realism gave the film a depressingly grim style, and this is aided by the industrial Newcastle setting. Overall this style, and a brilliant central performance from Michael Caine made for a superb film. This modern American based version isn't a superb film, but neither is it the disaster it could have been.

Remakes of movies are rarely better than the originals, and more often than not they are a complete mess. I still fail to see what can be gained from remaking a classic, How do you improve on something that is already as good as it can be? It's like photocopying a picture, the copy is never as good as the original. This begs the question should these remakes be judged against the originals, or be evaluated on their own merits. Well by copying parts of the scripts and by cashing in on the originals name the film studio's brings the comparison on the film. This is a particularly pertinent point here as this new film is so very different from the original.

First up lets just say that the best thing in this remake is Michael Caine, the only problem with this is that he is no longer the main star but relegated to a small supporting role. Instead we have Sylvester Stallone, who to be honest is nowhere near as bad as he could have been. In fact it would be fair to say this is one of his best performances for a long time. Unfortunately when Michael Caine appears he is acted back into the dark ages.

The next noticeable feature is the neon American setting, which just lacks the oppressive atmosphere of the British film. This means that despite the strong story the film quickly becomes a run of the mill American gangster film. The movement of setting robs the film of its character and what is a left is a trashy facsimile. It's a shame because the story still works and is potentially very engaging, even though it has been given a happy ending!!!

Another problem is Stephen Kay's pseudo trendy direction. His visual tricks may be clever in the Steven Soderbergh sort of way but they add little to the film and quickly become annoying. A fact compounded by (apart from the variation of the original classic theme) the absolutely abysmal and at most time intrusively inappropriate score.

If you view Get Carter as a film in its own right you have a steady performance from Stallone, a excellent supporting cast, and a good story. Unfortunately it is a pretty bland generic gangster movie, and it suffers from poor direction and music score. At the end of the day there are many others of this type of file that are loads better. As a remake of the original it is a complete and utter waste of time. It is just not in the same league. I really have no idea why they bothered to remake this film unless it was to cynically cash in on the name fortunately they fooled no one. It's a shame as if the link to the original was dumped with a bit more work you would have had a good film on its own merits.


The Truth Hurts.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home