Savages (2012) Blu-ray Review: Oliver Stone Makes a Torture Porn Flick

Guaranteed to give you a bore-gasm.
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At the very beginning of Oliver Stone's Savages, we are greeted to the sight of Taylor Kitsch's bare ass in motion as he rams his co-star, Blake Lively, who proclaims via voiceover narration: "I have orgasms, he has war-gasms." And, with that less-than-Blake's-last-name delivery, all expectations one might have for this dramatic thriller — to say nothing of the amount of respect one might have once had for any of the film's performers — goes out the door and into the rubbish bin like a big jug of sour milk. Granted, taking a gallon of curdled dairy out to the trash would probably be a more fulfilling experience.

Boldly going where several men have gone before, Savages brings us the very dramatic and awfully bloody tale of pot dealers. Yes, no longer are they a bunch of stoners who sit about and watch Weeds: these folks are real bad men. And women. The "good" guys here are represented by the aforementioned Kitsch and his co-star Aaron Johnson, who play a couple of entrepreneurial growers. One, Kitsch, is a hardened ex-military fellow. The other, Johnson, is a sensitive dweeb. They both love Blake, and have a simplistically complex relationship wherein they both share and adore her.

On the "bad" side of the formula, we have Benicio Del Toro — looking just as ornery and ugly as ever -- as the vicious muscle of cartel leader Salma Hayek. John Travolta is somewhere in the middle as a crooked Fed, and his performance — thankfully — is somewhat tame compared to the over-the-top parts we usually see him inhabit. After the latter tries to bring the boys onboard to grow for her, she kidnaps Blake (whose character is named O, incidentally). From there, things go progressively worse — mostly for a great many extraneous characters who happen to wander into Stone's frame.

Dismemberment, eye-gouging, stabbing, shooting, people being set on fire, you name it: Savages lives up to its name, kids. In fact, it do so so well, that one can not help but wonder if Oliver Stone was trying to make an avant-garde torture porn flick. The writing isn't extraordinary by any means, and the story leaves little to no room for improvement over what you think is going to happen. Until the ending hits, of course, when Stone pulls an infuriating surprise twist finale on us that is usually only reserved for artsy films — something Savages most certainly is not.

But then, I'm not sure what I was expecting from a film starring the bland leads of Gossip Girl, John Carter, and Kick-Ass. I know what I half expected from Oliver Stone, though, so I'm beginning to wonder if he hasn't passed his zenith. Oh, well, better luck next time, Ollie.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment presents this extensive, cloyingly philosophical gore flick to home video in a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/UltraViolet Combo set that offers up both the original theatrical cut of the film and an even longer unrated version. As far as the video and audio aspects of the movie go, Savages delivers, with a dynamic transfer bearing rich colors and extra fine detail all around. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack takes you on an aural journey that is only disappointing when you realize how bad the movie's dialogue really is. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 tracks are also on-hand, and the theatrical edition also contains an English 2.0 Descriptive Video Service track.

The list of special features for Savages begin with two audio commentaries: the first by the ever indolent Mr. Stone himself, the second with a more energetic, varied assortment consisting of producers Eric Kopeloff and Moritz Borman, writer/novelist Don Winslow, co-writer/executive producer Shane Salerno, and production designer Tomas Voth. Additional bonus items are limited to a handful of deleted scenes (which total about sixteen minutes altogether), and a routine, five-part making-of featurette entitled "Stone Cold Savages."

Like Blake Lively says: some people have orgasms, others have war-gasms. Well, there are other types of gasms, too, you know. For example, watching Oliver Stone's Savages is guaranteed to give you a bore-gasm.

Yeah, I went there. After all, if Stone can stoop this low, why can't I?

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