Dave's Rating:

2.5

… just gives in to its own insecurity and ups the machismo.

Who's in It: Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, Jesse Eisenberg

The Basics: Gere is a burned out TV reporter (he's got a flask — all movie alkies need a flask) who bailed on a hotshot career to become a grasping, unreliable freelancer drawn to the worst spots on the planet (he's a got a good tragic reason, as the movie eventually reveals). His former cameraman (Howard) stayed sober and moved up the corporate ladder. But when Gere shows up claiming to know the whereabouts of the most dangerous and elusive Bosnian war criminal, the allure of being possibly murdered on the job is just too much catnip for Howard to resist.

What's the Deal? Director Richard Shepard made The Matador, the one about a charismatically messy hit man who's lost his nerve and the drone he befriends/seduces. So, yeah, basically the same plot. It probably means that an unofficial trilogy about middle-aged male anxiety is in the works here. Both push the am-I-man-enough panic button while satirizing the outsider-knows-best guy's guy movie, but the problem here is that The Matador hit its satirical target — more or less. This one just gives in to its own insecurity and ups the machismo.

Here's Your Proof: Chuck Norris is referenced not once, but twice. He's the patron saint that the film thinks it's too smart to actually employ without a wink, but doesn't know what to do with him afterwards. So, you know, just show him again. That'll get the point across.

Having Your Death Cake and Eating It, Too: Gallows humor in a film about wars is great. That is, until your main character experiences something horrible and war-related. Then it's not funny anymore. So if you don't mind a little whiplash in tone, that's what you're in for.

Other Media Venues in Which Terrence Howard Is Vastly More Entertaining: All he gets to do here is sort of be the guy who yells, "Hey, man, you're gonna get me killed!" over and over while feeling like a sellout for being stable and reliable and making a good living with all the suits back in the fancy, pampered city. But in real life — just in case you've been living in a celebrity-trivia-free cave lately — he's the man who talks openly to magazines about crazy stuff like female bathroom hygiene and promiscuity and whatever else the voices in his head tell him it's OK to say in public. No lie. Google "Terrence Howard" and "baby wipes" and see what you get.

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