Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Animal (2005)

Synopsis: Hmm…Ving Rhames beats the crap out of other men in prison, meets a guru, gets out of the big house, and tries to talk his son out of following in his footsteps. Wow – it’s basically South Central (or He Got Game) meets Undisputed

Blurb From the DVD Jacket: “His name…infamous. His reputation…. Ruthless. But when James ‘Animal’ Allen (Ving Rhames) is locked up in a maximum security prison, he meets a revolutionary (Jim Brown) who changes his life. Now a reformed man, James is released only to find his own son (Terrence Howard) has assumed a life of crime and violence.” 

What Did I Learn?: If you really want to whack a fellow prison inmate, don’t ask the crime boss for permission, first. Just push the guy down a flight of stairs and make it look like an accident. 

You Might Like This Movie If: You figure it must be a biography of this guy

Really?: 1) Funny how the young Darius looks absolutely nothing like either of his parents. 2) So wait – evidence emerges that James might have been wrongly convicted by crooked cops, yet he still has to spend a few more months in jail, and then see a parole officer after he’s released? 3) Imagine my surprise to discover that the “Willie Lynch” letter that’s quoted, and referenced over and over again in this film was most likely a forgery that was created long after the 18th century had passed. As you may remember from my review of Nostradamus, I’m not crazy about movies that knowingly play fast and loose with historical facts.

Rating: Animal is a powerful, and surprisingly moving low-budget drama that features a good performance from Rhames, and an outstanding one from Howard. Unfortunately, Animal’s cinematography and overall production values are sub-par, the script doesn’t make sense in places (see: “Really?”), and the story itself isn’t terribly original (see: “Synopsis”). 5.5/10 stars.

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