Best friends Chon (Kitsch) and Ben (Johnson) are genius pot dealers in Laguna. One of them is more of a “save the universe” type guy and holds a degree in Business and Botany. Yes, pot heads in High Schools everywhere just rejoiced “It’s a real thing!” and the other one, suffering from anger issues stemming from tours in Iraq takes care of the “beating the crap out of people when necessary” aspect. Oh yeah, they also share a girlfriend. (Awkward right?), her name is O (Lively). No really it is I swear. Anyways, moving on because we have to, these two guys have made some of the best pot known to man and have made millions from it. (Still can’t find their own girlfriend though, just saying). Everything is going great as they take turns with their shared girlfriend (still weird) in their huge beach house when the Mexican drug cartel decides they want to be partners. This actually stands for “We own you now and you know you like it.” Ben and Chon don’t really feel like being De-decapitated so they decide to make a go of living in a jungle somewhere until Elena (Hayeck) the ruthless lady leader of the cartel has O kidnapped.
So are you over the fact that our two heroes share a girl yet? OK good, because I’m not either. This is one of those films that can only be enjoyed if you can let go of a few things. The whole film is narrated by O in her stoned and lazy version of her “OMG you guys I am so high right now” voice. She is a lot like her role in The Town only without the Boston accent. She is really annoying as a character and it’s kind of hard to feel bad for her much less root for her. This is one of the things you have to let go of to enjoy the film. Ben and Chon worked well because they are the exact opposite to one another yet somehow have the respect for each-other to get along despite their constant different point of views. Kill everybody or run away. Ben was almost as annoying as O because he was always whining and psycho-analyzing everything. I found Chon to be my favorite of the three because he seemed to be the only one who just wanted to actually get things done and blow up some stuff while everyone else talked and talked some more.
Villains make films though and despite the awkwardness and UN-likability of some of the lead roles the bad guys were sinister, relentless and kind of funny at times. One interaction between Elena’s ruthless right hand man Lado (Del Toro) and out for himself FBI agent Dennis (Travolta) in particular was tense and humorous at the same time. Travolta was surprisingly great in this film as he looked like his old self and I was pleased to see he had a larger part in the film than anticipated. Elena had a well written back story as well as the bad guys, while certainly crude enough to hate were interesting enough to steal the flick.
Savages UN-intentionally gives us no-one to root for and may even get on your nerves for a moment or two with its anything goes mentality. There is no doubt however, that it has some great action sequences, well written dialog (minus a few horrendous lines by O’s character), strong acting by a strong cast and is an all-around well-made film all the way up until it’s absolutely dreadful crash and burn of an ending. I won’t give anything away here but let’s just say this ending is a problem. It felt as though the Director had a decent ending for a good film but wanted some attention so badly that he was willing to ruin his own movie to do so. You don’t always have to be edgy and cute. Sometimes playing things straight up is what’s best. 6.5/10