Stand Up Guys (2012)

pacino walken arkin“Stand Up Guys” was one of those movies that I was really excited to see when I first heard about it, but then I kind of forgot about it. So did most people I guess, because “Stand Up Guys”  didn’t do too well. The movie was moved back from it’s set release date due to unfortunate current events (That really have nothing to do with the movie, but I digress.) “Stand Up Guys”  eventually ended up settling for a limited release which is why I wasn’t able to see it until now.

I didn’t hear a whole lot about “Stand Up Guys” , and what little I did hear wasn’t very positive. But,  I must say, I was very pleasantly surprised.

It has the feel of a throwback to old gangster films. I like to imagine the characters in “Stand Up Guys”  as the subject of a 70’s gangster film, perhaps called “A Fistfull of Teeth”, then those characters grew old and “Stand Up Guys” comes along as a way to check up on those characters.

stand up guys3The basic story is that Al Pacino is released from prison and is picked up by his old pal Christopher Walken, who was sent to kill him by a gangster. What follows is not an action film by any means, but a well acted, dramatic, character piece, that works to study the relationship of it’s two lead characters.

“Stand Up Guys” stars Christopher Walken and Al Pacino who are both great. They are two of my favorite actors and they are very talented. Christopher Walken’s strange demeanor and pattern of speech often overshadow the fact that he is actually a very good actor. Both actors deliver great performances here. It takes a while for the relationship to develop between the two, but once they get in the swing of things it’s a lot of fun to watch. The film claims to also star Alan Arkin and he does a good job while he’s on screen, but he isn’t in a whole lot of the movie.

stand up guys Mark Margolis stand up guys Vanessa FerlitoOther actors of note in the movie are Mark Margolis (AKA Tio Salamanca AKA The Bell Guy from Breaking Bad,) playing the head gangster, Vanessa Ferlito (AKA Butterfly from “Deathproof), and a real stand up guy found in stand up comedian Bill Burr who plays a small time gangster.

The script has some problems and feels like it might have been better suited to a different director, but the actors manage to hold the whole thing together. Al Pacino and Christopher Walken bring these characters to life and make their relationship very powerful. The heart of the film is the relationship between the two characters and the drama with them works very well.

stand up guys2

“Stand Up Guys”  is also pretty funny. The comedy is all quippy dialogue based comedy akin to a Tarantino film, except not written as well. The comedy is sometimes hit and miss.

The premise is fairly interesting but it’s really the characters that make this work. Don’t mistake this for an action movie aside from a couple brief moments and a pretty awesome, but somewhat unfulfilling slo-mo shootout, “Stand Up Guys”  is strictly a character driven drama. But it’s a pretty good one.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s