This is a good looking film, beautifully shot, well acted and with fine direction. But none of that can save it from the nasty message at its heart.
Creasy is a former covert operative scarred and driven to drink by years of unspecified dark deeds South of the Border. Winding up in Mexico he takes a job guarding Pita, the daughter of a local businessman (Dakota Fanning, who is perhaps too blonde to be convincingly half Mexican).
As the first hour drags on the poppet works her magic and Creasy begins to care for her. So, of course, she gets kidnapped and he is shot trying to stop it. When the ransom payment is hijacked and Pita isn’t returned Creasy, still badly wounded and symbolically bleeding in swimming pools, vows revenge and works his way up the gangster hierarchy.
This is the sort of film apologists for Abu Ghraib and Gitmo must love. Creasy has no problem torturing people to get information and, unlike real life, they always tell him what he needs to hear, rather than what he wants, they all deserve it because they’re sadistic child killers and he never accidentally chops the finger off an innocent man. He doesn’t have to worry about the possible collateral damage from dropping cars off cliffs above football pitches or RPG’ing them in mid town traffic, because his quest is so Just.
We’re supposed to accept that Creasy is atoning for past sins, but really he’s just committing them again in a freelance capacity. If anything the unsurprising twist at the end lessens Creasy’s redemption rather than validates it. And I could have done without the bullshit philosophising about bullets telling the truth.
I get the feeling that this film, and the current season of 24, are about telling the American public what they should accept being done in their name. If torture works in such high quality entertainment than maybe it’s okay for the real world as well.