15 February 2011 | Bob_the_Hobo
Enjoyable, Lives Up To It's Name
Michael Madsen is an actor who seems stuck to the "Mr. Orange" role he played in Tarantino's masterpiece Reservoir Dogs, and that's not a tradition he breaks here in Vice. The cover looked promising, with Madsen holding a shotgun and Daryl Hannah below him. Looked good and was good.
Madsen plays Max Walker, one of those tough 'personal-demons' cops who fills a mysterious hole in his life with prostitutes and booze. His partner, Salt (Hannah), covers Walker at the beginning by planting evidence. Even before that, Walker has a long conversation with a prostitute, that ends in the obvious. The other members of Walker's department are equally as corrupt, or dubious as to the corruption. Suddenly, a string of murders are committed and Walker finds himself in the middle of it.
The plot sounds stereotypical, and it is. The film is a collection of classic clichés that somehow cinch together masterfully. Nothing about this movie sounded good, I only watched it to numb my brain after a tough day. I found myself increasingly glad I watched.
The acting is great. Madsen knows he's playing a scumbag and plays a great one. He's Mr. Blonde again, but it's a role he knows well and it showcases his talents. Hannah is a bit of a bait-and-switch, but what screen time she has is fine. The supporting cast also remarkable, including Mykelti Williamson (Bubba from Forrest Gump), John Cassini, and the always fantastic Mark Boone Junior.
For a film that is 70% talk, the dialogue is really good. I was interested in these characters and their lives, especially the lines given to Madsen. He does a great job with the lines he's given, which are noir one-liners that fit great with the source material. The pacing is slow but the dialogue and action make up for it.
Overall Vice was an enjoyable little action film that gave me what I wanted; Noir Crime with Mystery and a great main character to follow. Enjoy.