Knockaround Guys (2001)

(In theaters, October 2002) Kept in the studio’s vaults for a while and released in theatres mostly to cash in on Vin Diesel’s popularity, this film is slightly better than the usual straight-to-video, but not by much. My biggest problem with the film is the way it smothers a rather fun mob comedy with a wrapping of intense drama. Your mileage may vary, but it’s far more fun to see a gang of slick New York mobsters deal with a sleepy Midwest town than to hear the constant whining of a pretty Mafioso’s son. The ending is lazy, killing everyone in sight in an attempt to solve plot problems. Acting-wise, Diesel is as good as usual, but doesn’t stretch his range much. Barry Pepper continues to atone for the Battlefield Earth debacle. Along with 2002’s We Were Soldiers, maybe we can forgive him now. Seth Green is misused, but John Malkovich is just right. This is the kind of film you can rent without too much guilt. But then again, it’s nothing special.

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