STAND UP GUYS

STAND UP GUYSAl Pacino as Val
Christopher Walken as Doc
Alan Arkin as Hirsch
Julianna Margulies as Nina Hirsch
Mark Margolis as Claphands
Lucy Punch as Wendy
In theaters February 1

Following 28 years in prison, Val (Pacino) gets out and reunites with his old friend and partner in crime, Doc (Walken). What he doesn’t know, is that Doc has been contracted by a crime boss, Claphands, to kill him as revenge for the accidental death of his son.

Val and Doc are old school gangsters. In their heyday they were the baddest of the bad asses, but the years have gone by and they have dropped out of the game. Val, has been locked up for 28 years, and Doc has taken to painting sunrises and watching his cholesterol level.  When he picks up his old pal from prison the two tentatively reconnect by hitting the town for food, drugs, and hookers.  All the while Doc is trying to come to terms with the task at hand.  He doesn’t want to kill his friend, but he may have no choice. Claphands has given Doc until the next morning to eliminate Val or suffer the consequences.  These gentlemen are joined on their bittersweet coming out party by another old friend Hirsch (Arkin). He was their wheelman whenever there was a caper.  The two bust him out of his assisted living home and take off in a monster of a stolen Dodge Charger which Hirsch proceeds to rip down the street, leaving the cops in the dust.

The three musketeers blaze the night and along the way have a few adventures.  One of which is helping an unusual damsel in distress, by assisting her in exacting revenge on degenerate lowlifes who did her wrong.  As the night rolls along it becomes clear that even though these guys are your grandad’s age, they have NOT lost a single step.  They still go to work and take no prisoners.  But as the hours tick away, Doc still has to face what he’s been ordered to do.  Val has figured out what Doc has to do, but he ain’t mad,  a solution to the problem is in the works, but will it be enough to satisfy Claphands?

Stand Up Guys is the most unlikely film you will see this year.  Crime drama with incidental comedic overtones is the best way I can describe it.  You definitely got some powerhouses here:  Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin are a dream team.  Best of the Best.  You got a problem, these are the guys you want to take care of it.  This feels almost like a Mamet play only with slightly slower paced dialogue, that follows with Pacino and Arkin.  The last time they worked together was in Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross.

The cast is rounded out by Julianna Margulies who plays Hersch’s daughter, British actress Lucy Punch, an unexpected performance by comedian Bill Burr as a nasty mob heavy, and perennial all round bad guy character actor Mark Margolis (Scarface, Oz, Breaking Bad) as Claphands. This movie also boasts a kickin’ soundtrack of old school soul gems by such artists as Baby Huey and the Babysitters, Muddy Waters, and Sam and Dave to name a few.

Stand Up Guys is thoroughly entertaining and will have you laughing one moment and open mouthed with surprise, and thoughtfully misty eyed the next.  You’ll be rooting for these guys all the way to the unexpected ending.  You absolutely positively don’t want to miss this!

5 out of 5 stars. 

Check out the trailer for “Stand Up Guys” below:

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