The Verdict: SavagesOliver Stone's latest fails to deliver on the promise of its all-star cast and intriguing premise

I WALKED INTO Savages with pretty tempered expectations. The movie opened nearly two weeks ago, and I’ll admit that the middling reviews it’s been receiving almost prevented me from seeing it. It’s not that the story of a weird California love/pot triangle seemed uninteresting or lacking in shock value. It was more the idea that a movie with such a ridiculous storyline could somehow manage to miss the entertainment value mark.

Savages has all of the elements of a truly entertaining film. Its lead actors, Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson, are two up and coming young actors with some solid acting chops. There are explosions, scenes of graphic torture, Salma Hayek in low-cut dresses, and some pretty decent dialogue for a movie where the protagonists spend a somewhat absurd amount of the film cracking lame marijuana puns. Benecio del Toro and John Travolta give great performances as a cartel enforcer and crooked DEA agent, respectively, and Blake Lively even manages to shed a bit of that Gossip Girl image of hers. Any other director would be able to take material like that and sculpt it into something worth paying money to go see. The problem is that Oliver Stone is not just any other director.

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