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Wick's Review

Created Feb 27, 2013 09:05PM PST • Edited Nov 01, 2016 04:14PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Very Good 3.5

    Snitch is a damn good movie unfairly dinged because it hews closer to reality than most action thrillers. It’s a solid fatherhood movie, trucker movie and desperate-man-doing-desperate-things movie. Plus it’s got a charismatic star, even if he’s too boffo for his role.

    That would be Dwayne Johnson, a guy who’s the spitting image of The Rock. Only this isn’t a Rock movie. Our hero never wields automatic weapons, doesn’t even throws a punch. WHATT!! The expectation that he will never leaves you, but don’t let that ruin the movie. Johnson may look like an übermensch, but the movie requires that he not act like one.

    Not that Snitch is close to realistic, what with the credits naming four dozen drivers and stuntmen. However, there’s not much in the way of pyrotechnics, which is why it carries a notably low rFactor of 1.9. I like the way it rolls shy of surrealism however. That’s confidence in your story, stars and steering.

    Fans of DJ Rock, good contemporary crime movies, inspiring albeit sappy fatherhood movies, not to mention of big rigs, will find Snitch worthy of dropping a dime on.

  3. Good 3.0

    Dwayne Johnson is weighed down by being The Rock. It’s not just that we’re used to seeing him as an action star, it’s that he’s so physically imposing, he’s barely credible as a guy who’s not an alpha male. Nonetheless, he does a damn good job as a normal guy, even one who’s often quite vulnerable. Plus he retains his enormous likability.

    The supporting cast is a click below his star power.

    • Rafi Gavron is more wimpy than sympathetic as his son.
    • Melina Kanakaredes is quite effective as his bitter ex, their son’s over-protective Mother. I never watched her on TV, but it’s obvious why Kanakaredes has been a durable small screen star.
    • Nadine Velazquez jumps off the screen as his gorgeous younger wife. First the hottie flight attendant in Flight, now this. Miss Velazquez is having quite a year.
    • Jon Bernthal is quietly distinctive as an ex-con trying to go straight.
    • Barry Pepper – barely recognizable as a DEA undercover officer – isn’t as effective as he should be.
    • Susan Sarandon is effective but hardly great as an ambitious US Attorney.
    • Michael Kenneth Williams is more addled than terrifying as a drug lord.
    • Benjamin Bratt is quietly menacing as a drug kingpin. Always good to see Bratt.
    • JD Pardo is good but little more as his lieutenant.
    • Harold Perrineau is distinctive in a small role. Perrineau classes up any cast.
  4. Male Stars Very Good 3.5
  5. Female Stars Good 3.0
  6. Female Costars Good 3.0
  7. Male Costars Good 3.0
  8. Very Good 3.5

    Ric Roman Waugh deserves props for directing and co-writing this very satisfying film, especially for trusting in his story and star enough to keep the rFactor turned down. OK, in reality he probably didn’t have the budget to turn it up, but still, solid filmmaking sans major FX and pyrotechnics is worth a few kudos.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Good 3.0

    The story is tried and true. A good man gets drawn into desperate acts to save his son, here because the son got snared in a major drug deal. Thus his dad has to go undercover to entrap a kingpin in exchange for the son’s freedom.

  11. Music Very Good 3.5
  12. Visuals Really Great 4.5
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.5

    Unusual ascending Sex, Violence, Rudeness formation. 1.6 on Sex, 2.5 on Violence, 3.5 on Rudeness. What that means is PG-13 Risqué.

  15. Sex Titillating 1.6
  16. Violence Fierce 2.5
  17. Rudeness Profane 3.5
  18. Glib 1.9

    Snitch stays much more realistic than most action thrillers by avoiding big explosions, heavy weaponry and by having a hero who doesn’t magically become a dominating fighter, even though he’s played by the actor occasionally known as The Rock. The result is that all three rFactors stay just below 2×. By comparison, an ultra-action movie like Salt is well north of 2x normal reality, while Jack Reacher is at 3.3×.

    Then there’s the movie’s underlying reality, said to be “Inspired by Real Events.” That would be the Frontline show Snitch, which profiles non-hardened criminals snared in major drug busts and subjected to decade-long mandatory minimum sentences. Ironically, Snitch features a scenario where such harsh sentencing works as desired by forcing those ensnared to hand over kingpins in exchange for leniency. Thus the movie undercuts its own emotional plea. Whoops.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.7
  20. Biological Glib 1.9
  21. Physical Glib 2.0


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