21 January 2016 | cinemacy
The modern day Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer treasure hunt re-imagining is loads of good ol' fun
Classic characters from perhaps the greatest literary work of American literature, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer have hit the big screen, in a re-imagining that takes their mischievously- intentioned, hero-of-the-story selves, keeps a driving plot about finding a mythic treasure, and leaves the rest behind – and to good-spirited, well-earned fun in the new film, 'Band of Robbers'.
It should be stated early, there's not a whole lot that 'Robbers' truly, truly, lifts from Mark Twain's classic novel or characters other than using the characters' likeliness and winning charms to drop them into this new culture mash-up. It's really just the story of a version of a Huck Finn (Kyle Gallner) and a Tom Sawyer (Adam Nee), where Huck is a recent prison release looking to make clean and Tom is a wily cop whose adventure-seeking ways leads to his character's charming but still law-skirting flirtations, and through this all, they still remain the best of friends, along with a band of other self-affirmed misfit pirate pals.
The faces and talents enlisted here are truly where the comedy shines. It has the taste of 21 Jump Street comic-firing and timing of every-line-a-joke (and mostly bulls eye's at that), uses some familiar faces and some not-so, in playing a winning hand. Kyle Gallner as Huck is a Jeremy Renner and Rick Grimes a la The Walking Dead, where Adam Nee is as much as stand- out in a role that he knows so well. The geek-beloved Matthew Gray Gubler as Joe Harper, along with Hannibal Burress as Ben Rogers add a deep bench to the effort, with Burress (and "Greg
Knife" nailing every one of his scenes). Melissa Benoist and Eric Christian Olsen also star as little-used Becky Thatcher, Tom's new partner on the day of the planned heist (mention heist) and Sid Sawyer, beloved detective who plays it maybe a bit too straight.
Written and directed by brother filmmaking team Aaron and Adam Nee, 'Robbers' went through many years of development (including an idea of it being a TV show) before finally having its world premiere at the LA Film Festival. One wonders what following that version of Huck, Tom, and company may have been like, and what many adventures they may have spun in and out of in sit-com fashion. But its final format of a ninety-five-minute feature film feels like the best use of its talent, sparing any over-indulgence in what could have flopped as a gimmick and succeeds as a send-up that breathes fresh life into an American classic.