Action Movie Fanatix Review: Give ‘Em Hell Malone

Hard To Love… Harder To Kill

Starring: Thomas Jane, Ving Rhames, Elsa Pataky, French Stewart, Leland Orser, Chris Yen, William Abadie, Gregory Harrison, Doug Hutchison

Director: Russell Mulcahy

2009  |  92 Minutes  |  Not Rated

“In my line of work you have to knife before you’re punched and shoot before you’re knifed.” – Malone

I have a weird relationship with movies like Give ‘Em Hell Malone.  I love B-Movies and film noir but when current filmmakers try to emulate those styles it rarely works for me.  Give ‘Em Hell Malone attempts to recreate the classic film noir story with the classic film noir character models in a modern city.

Malone (Thomas Jane) is a private eye who has a reputation for being impossible to kill and able to rip out a man’s heart with his bare hands.  When his family was killed (except his mother who tends to all of his wounds) he became something of a hired gun.  Malone is hired by a looker of a client, Evelyn (Elsa Pataky), to retrieve a briefcase which is also wanted by the city’s mob boss. Boulder(Ving Rhames) hires Matchstick (Doug Hutchison), a fire obsessed thug, and Mauler (Chris Yen), a knife wielding female pseudo-ninja, to track down Malone and get the briefcase.  On top of all this, Malone believes he was set up from the very beginning.

Give ‘Em Hell Malone is like watching a modern day, ultra-violent episode of Dick Tracy.  Its weird to have the 30s style mobsters (complete with the era dress and speak) in the modern era.  The storyline is rather muddy as well.  It isn’t that it is hard to understand but at times you aren’t 100% clear why something is happening.  It all has a verySinCityfeel minus the style and is ultimately a lot less effective.

Most of the dialogue and acting is done to mimic a film noir type detective story.  Even the worst actors could have pulled it off but still most performances are just passable.  Ving Rhames is definitely the most interesting character as the cool as a cucumber ass-kicker,Boulder.  Thomas Jane’s Malone is really just a mumbly version of his Punisher character.  Elsa Pataky is incredibly flat as Evelyn, who ends up being a character so full of lies that you don’t even know what the truth is by the end of the movie.  Doug Hutchison even does his best Heath Ledger’s Joker impression as Matchstick including the story of how he may or may not have killed his parents as a youngster (SPOILER ALERT: Ledger played this part better).

The opening 10 minutes are almost all a bloody violent gunfight complete with exploding heads and noses being shot off.  After that the pacing is a little slower with shorter bursts of action.  I actually found myself losing interest at a few points where the story bogged down and the action was in a lull.

Give ‘Em Hell Malone isn’t as bad as a lot of the other movies that copy the film noir or B-Movie style but you can do a lot better with Sin City or by just avoiding the genre-clones altogether.  That isn’t to say that Give ‘Em Hell Malone is a complete waste of time.  It kept me mostly entertained for the better part of 90 minutes and in the end I guess that is all I can ask for.