Giallo/ThrillerReview

Review: Tokarev



Review

It’s not very often Nicolas Cage makes it onto Beyond the Gore, but more recently he has been choosing his movies with a somewhat cheese-less tact. ‘The Wickerman’, ‘Season of the Witch’ and ‘Hell Rider’ all boast his name, but his part in them seemed somewhat out of place – to me at least.

With ‘Tokarev’ he fits the bill perfectly. Whilst his emotional scenes still struggle to come across with any conviction, his quick draw approach to gunplay had me fondly reminiscing of ‘Face Off’. The plot, on the surface at least, is a simple tale of revenge, in reality it is a teaser of a thriller which just when you think your heading for the credits, throws in a true twist ending which changes the whole dynamic of the movie.

Cage plays a gone straight gangster by the name of Paul Maguire who, one fateful night comes home from a high profile function to find his beloved daughter kidnapped, then dead. Whilst the police urge him to consider his actions and to wait for them to solve the case, Maguire is convinced that he knows exactly who did it, and that his past has just caught up with him. In a plot which could conceivably replace that of ‘Taken 2’, Maguire goes on a killing spree which sees him taking on his former gang rivals of all ethnicity without respite. Nothing seems right, and the answer to who took his daughter and why seems to evade him at every turn.

Whilst many aspects of the plot definitely tread familiar territory I found this helped the movie rather than hinder it. Judging by some of the reviews I have seen online, followers of the movie seemed to expect far more, but for me the by the numbers, guns blazing approach worked. It’s easy to watch violence – if such a thing should be accepted! The plot moved forward with a fairly linear path. There are the odd moments in which a back story threatens to break away from the Cage related carnage, and these last just long enough to keep you guessing as to where the story is going. In fact, as simple as it is, his mystery is your mystery, and whilst I would in no way suggest the movie instigates any emotional involvement from its audience, I wanted to know who did it!
The acting is pretty decent on the whole, whist the script continually straddled the line between cliché and

occasional ‘one liner’ amusement.
Where the movie really comes into its own is the gun play. Now let it be known, like I like my horror scary, and my gore movies gory, when it comes to watching action, I like solid gunplay. I don’t care for realism, just big guns and seemingly infinite ammunition, interesting kill shots and the occasional gratuitous brutal kill; ‘Tokarev’ has them all. The pacing is good, as the action is pretty much consistent. The sound effects on the guns pack a punch, and the camera work is stable and well positioned to make you feel like you are part of the setup.

If I were to criticise the movie at all it would be only for the sake of a couple of scenes. It takes a little bit of time to get going, although on the flipside Cage seems to go from ‘dead straight’ businessman, to absolute killing machine in about 2mins flat. It would have been nice to see a more gradual degeneration of his character, more akin to Kevin Bacon’s role in ‘Death Sentence’. Later in the film Maguire’s on the spot intuition again seems a little radical as he offs one of his closest friends with little more than a 5 second conversation; this in particular seemed a little out of place.

Overall though, assuming you have come to view ‘Tokarev’ with the expectation of seeing a fast paced action movie, with a little thriller thrown in for good measure then you will not be disappointed. Judged on its merits the movie offers ample easy watching. Why is it on Beyond the Gore? – The who-done-it approach was too intriguing for me to ignore, and I was very, very satisfied with its twist ending!

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