Ben & Chon
Former Navy SEAL Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and peace loving botanist Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) are best friends and business partners as whilst Ben grows the best marijuana in Cali it is Chon who is the heavy, making sure business goes their way with a little help from corrupt DEA Agent Dennis (John Travolta). And Chon and Ben don't just share business they also share Ophelia (Blake Lively) who gets the best of both worlds because whilst Chon gives her rough and ready, Ben makes love to her. But things start to kick of when their operation comes to the attention of a Mexican Cartel who demand that they partner up and when the friends cockily refuse the cartel boss, Elena (Salma Hayek), orders her muscle, Lado (Benicio Del Toro) to kidnap Ophelia. But rather than bending over and taking it Ben and Chon start their own war against the Cartel to force them to release Ophelia.
Most movie reviewers get asked the question of what system they use when rating movies as how can you compare something like an Adam Sandler movie to "Citizen Kane". It can be quite complex especially if you try and break things down to specifics and start rating like for like. Actually let me just explain why I rate Oliver Stone's "Savages" as an average 3 out of 5 and it is simply because it entertained enough but not to the extent that I would ever go and buy it on DVD or go out of my way to watch it again, probably only choosing to if I was bored and channel surfing when I came across it. But the thing is that if I was to rate "Savages" solely comparing it to other Oliver Stone movies it would be down near the bottom and below par compared to his usual standards.
But as I said "Savages" is entertaining in a middle of the road sort of way with a storyline which probably would have been better trimmed down of its excess to make it around 105 minutes rather than 131. The thing is that the storyline isn't complex as we have drug dealers, cartels and a war which develops from a refusal to do business but Stone tries to make it more and in doing so often feels like he is reliant on sensationalism to try and entertain which is why we have this threesome set up with Ophelia being the shared lover of two friends who are more than happy to do so. Sadly this sort of sensationalism might have entertained me when I was 18, a time when any sort of eroticism would appeal, but now comes across as being a little too desperate.
Desperate is actually quite a good word to describe some of the characters in "Savages" because from Elena her with her extremely straight fringe to Lado's bouffant it borders on being caricature like. In fact it feels at times like Oliver Stone is trying to channel some Quentin Tarantino with these over the top characters and in truth some over the top scenes but never delivering the energy and impact to make them work. It is why "Savages" ends up a surprisingly average movie.
What this all boils down to is that if you watch "Savages" because you are a fan of Oliver Stone you might end up disappointed as this is an average movie at best. But even so if you are only watching to be entertained then it will, it just won't grab you in such a way that you feel a huge need to watch it again.