Under the Radar

Review: 'The Bag Man'

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The Bag Man, starring John Cusack and Robert De Niro, opens in a handful of movie theaters this weekend ("handful" = 1 screen only in each of a few major markets). It's also available from most Video on Demand services if you don't want to leave the house.

De Niro is operating in full anything-for-a-paycheck mode here. The best guess is that he filmed all his scenes in less than a week and he gets to rock a poufy hairstyle and some chunky glasses while spouting philosophical gangster dialog.

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De Niro plays Dragna, some kind of crime boss who employs John Cusack's Jack, a retired hit man that Dragna's determined to pull back in. Cusack is operating in his full exasperation mode here and comes off like and old and exhausted version of his hit man from Grosse Point Blank.

There's a bag he's supposed to pick up (but definitely not look inside) and a motel managed by Crispin Glover, who offers up what might be the worst Louisiana accent in the history of movies. There's an odd assortment of characters at the motel, many of whom try to kill Jack.

Jack eventually allies with a 6-ft tall hooker played by Brazilian model Rebecca da Costa. Eventually everyone finds out what's in the bag and there's hell to pay.

I'm a guy who thoroughly enjoyed The Killer Elite, The Family, Last Vegas, Freelancers and Limitless. I even sat through Killing Season with John Travolta's ridiculous beard. I know Robert De Niro's less high-minded work over the last decade and I'm willing to say this is the most ridiculous movie he's made during that run.

If it's late, you're bored and/or well-lubricated and you made it all the way through Killing Season, you might go ahead and hit the "buy" button on your remote. No regrets here.

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