Get Carter (2000)
“The Truth Hurts”
Director: Stephen Kay
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Rachael Leigh Cook, Miranda Richardson
Synopsis: Years ago, Jack Carter left his Seattle home to become a Las Vegas mob casino financial enforcer. He returns for the funeral of his brother Richard ‘Richie’ after a car crash during a storm…
Is it a dearth of original ideas, or a mistaken belief on the part of Hollywood that it can improve on any movie not made within a 25-mile radius of its hub that prompts it to continue making unnecessary remakes of classic movies, often featuring inappropriate stars and made by directors who too often seem to have been thrown in at the deep end without a rubber ring? Whatever the reason, back in 2000 some overpaid Hollywood exec turned his jaded gaze upon Mike Hodge’s tough 1971 crime drama Get Carter and thought to himself: ’Hmmm, that Jack Carter role has got Sly Stallone written all over it…’
Stallone is indeed Jack Carter, hard-bitten tough guy in the employ of some Las Vegas big shot – whose wife Jack is apparently diddling, (although why screenwriter Dennis McKenna feels it necessary to include this little tidbit is a mystery as it has no bearing on the main plot) – who returns home to Seattle to attend the funeral of the brother he hasn’t seen for twenty years. Richie Carter died in a drunk-driving accident, but Jack suspects foul play, and his enquiries quickly uncover evidence of such. Chief suspects include a Bill Gates type computer whiz kid (Alan Cumming), an internet porn king (Mickey Rourke, in good form), and Cliff Brumby (Michael Caine), the manager of the club Richie used to run.
To be fair, Get Carter isn’t a terrible film, and had it not been a remake of an acknowledged classic it might have received a less torrid reception from the critics. Stallone, usually an under-rated actor, is badly miscast in the role of Carter though, partly because screenwriter McKenna seems to have ignored the key factor that made the original Jack Carter so unforgettable: he was almost inhuman, remorseless in his crusade to avenge his murdered brother while uncomprehending of the fact that he was no better than those whom he was hunting down. McKenna gives Stallone’s Carter a conscience and too much emotional vulnerability, which Stallone struggles to interpret effectively on screen.
Michael Caine, who played the original Carter, is a welcome (if predictable) inclusion to the movie, but his character seems so out of place it’s as if he’s strayed from another movie. He also suffers the trial of having Stallone (badly) recite to him one of his most famous lines. You know the one: ‘You’re a big man, but you‘re out of shape…’ but – guess what? – Caine isn’t a big man at all! He’s an average-size man! When you think about it, that misplaced line sort of sums up how poorly conceived this entire movie was…
(Reviewed 2nd August 2012)