Sinners and Saints (2010) Movie Review: What Was I Thinking?

You're supposed to be laughing with the sinners instead of crying with the saints, not just laughing at the plot line.
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You know how sometimes you look at the specs for a movie and it has some decent actors in it and it’s set in a pretty good locale and seems to have a somewhat trite, if still viable plot and you think to yourself ”well, this could be an okay way to spend an hour and a half” only to find that once you start watching you begin to question what the heck you were thinking? Yeah, this is one of those.

sinners and saintsThe thing that drew me to this particular movie was actually New Orleans. Well, that and the fact that there are several names in the cast list that should be able to give something to the overall. Detective Sean Riley (Johnny Strong) is trying to fight the drug trade while dealing with the personal tragedy of losing his son to cancer and his wife in the divorce that swiftly followed. He gets partnered up with family man, fellow detective Will Ganz (Kevin Phillips) and goes to hunt down bad guys. So far so good. Tastes a little like Lethal Weapon, but hey, I can live with that. Tom Berenger plays his despairing Captain and provides the occasional  experienced paternal pat on the shoulder after there has been a particularly violent bloody shoot out in the streets.

To make things more interesting there are bodies found burnt to a crisp after what looks like an unusually brutal stint of torture and Sean’s old buddy Colin (Sean Patrick Flanery) shows up out of nowhere to talk cryptically and hint that he’s in trouble before going into hiding. Sean is now suddenly right smack in the middle of something more sinister than just your regular run-of-the-mill drug-lord gang war. Okay, so far so good.

The problem is… well, there are a lot of problems, actually. The plot is derivative and uninspired and neither rouses my curiosity, nor propels the story forward in anything other than the flimsiest way possible. Even so, there are other charms when it comes to watching an action movie. Guns and explosions and fisticuffs, for instance. I’m all for a little mindless violence if it’s done well. The problem with today’s audiences, or maybe it’s just me, is that we are savvy and experienced - and we’ve watched MythBusters. So, roundabout the third time someone is ducking behind a car door whilst getting strafed with automatic weapons I am severely tempted to remind anyone inclined to listen that bullets actually go through car doors like they were made of Swiss cheese.

I find my logic circuits having an even bigger problem with the fact that the supposedly very tough and seasoned professional mercenary crew that is hunting down Colin line up outside the house, where he’s hiding in plain daylight, in single file and without actually sending even one guy around to cover the back of the house. Well, at least they make neat targets out front all lined up like that and then of course there’s the added bonus of having left the back wide open for the good guys to sneak out. Not to mention the fact that Colin kicks the gas line off the stove in his granddaddy’s old house that’s been empty since Katrina and, not only is the gas still turned on, it’s also helpfully green as it pours out and fills the house, which is mostly just rotted boards, badly aligned, in less than a few seconds, so that when he strikes a light the whole house goes up in a big explosion. This is about an hour in, and to my mind the huge big explosion is usually where the movie culminates, but no, not in this case.

There are other threads here, like a threat to the straight detective’s family, the outrageous fight scene between Sean and a bunch of the mercenaries - for which he loses his shirt, for no apparent reason - and the final car chase where Sean and Will actually catch up to a speeding car on foot only to elect standing in front of it to stop it. I can’t even begin to describe the level of derision my inner monologue is taking on at this point. You do not stop a speeding car by letting it hit you

Jürgen Prochnow, Bergenger, and Flanery were obviously there for the pay check and they were all underused as tragically as you might expect. Kim Coates, who I enjoy very much as Tig in Sons of Anarchy got killed off in the first five minutes and worst of all… New Orleans could just as easily have been an L.A. back lot. Yeah, no. This is not going in the annals of the greatest movies ever. And mind you, I’ve actually played nice here. Spend your money more wisely than I did. That’s about the nicest thing I have say about this. 

Sinners and Saints (2010) is directed by William Kaufman and stars Johnny Strong as Sean Riley, Kevin Phillips (Will Ganz), Costas Manylor (Raymond Crowe), Sean Patrick Flanery (Colin) Tom Berenger (Captain Trahan), Method Man (Weddo), Kim Coates (Dave) and Jürgen Prochnow (Mr. Rhykin).

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