Finally, an action movie for the new millenium. Up-and-coming director Joel Schumacher (The Wiz, Lost Boys) brings us Falling Down, a crime thriller like no other. Far from the senselessness of other recent action movies like Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe, Falling Down is a frightening glimpse at the streets of America today.
Rising star Michael Douglas stars as Bill, aka D-FENS, a divorced man who works for the Department of Defense (hence the nickname). At the start of the film, Bill is sitting in gridlocked L.A. traffic on the way to work. Frustrated, he wisely decides to abandon his car and head home, making his way across the shittier parts of Los Angeles on foot. Bill walks into a convenience store to get change, and completely loses his shit when the Korean store manager tells him he must make a purchase to do so. From then on, D-FENS falls deeper into madness, waging a literal war on golfers, gang members, bogus construction work, unfair divorce court rulings, and the high price of a can of Coke.
At some point D-FENS decides he is going to visit his ex-wife and daughter, who have a restraining order against him because he is fucking nuts. All the while, he is being tracked by Detective Prendergast (Robert Duvall), who seems to have a hard time locating a white guy in army fatigues carrying a duffel bag full of guns in gang-infested, predominantly hispanic L.A.
Also, this movie features a brief cameo from that black dude that fights Bruce Willis at the beginning of Die Hard 2. Here, he plays a man protesting outside of a bank, claiming that they would not give him a loan because he is "not financially viable," a subtle nod to the bank scandals and bogus loans that are currently plaguing the U.S. financial system.
Perhaps the best part of this movie is towards the end, when Prendergast discovers that Bill was laid off by the Defense Dept. a month earlier -- no doubt a result of Obama budget cuts and/or the scaling back of the Iraq war. But if Bill was unemployed, where the hell was he going at the start of the film, with his tie and his briefcase? Is he one of those dudes that loses his job, but wakes up every morning and goes someplace else for 8 hours so nobody will know? My friend Rob pulled that shit once when he got fired from PetCo. Unlike Rob, I don't think D-FENS was going to his brother's apartment to shoot pool and drink Beck's all day.
In the end, this film could be getting at any number of things. It could be a prototypical thriller about a sociopathic killer who happens to blend in with the rest of us, until he is pushed too far. Or it could be saying that playing by society's rules (as D-FENS did his whole life) leads to misery and insanity, and the only alternative is to rebel violently against the system. What I learned is this: when Michael Douglas asks you for 50 cents to use a pay phone, give him the fucking 50 cents, or he will whoop your ass with a bat.
We're here to tell you what WE think. Not what you think, not what Jay Mariotti thinks, and certainly not what ESPN thinks. We swear, we use caps lock, and we generally use pictures that would inspire discussion in prisons.
If you're one of those people that works in an office where your boss is constantly looking over your shoulder, maybe a gigantic representation of Luol Deng's third leg is just what the doctor ordered.
You have been warned.
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