Russel Crowe's latest film- 'The next 3 days' is a so-so remake of a French thriller which worked very well for the English audience because the stars were unknows for us.
Ugly middle aged guys like me were happy a not-ugly exactly but pretty ordinary French guy- that too a teacher- turns into a lean mean action hero. His wife- a fragile blonde- too was very affecting.
The re-make couldn't really hit the same high notes- at least for those of us who'd seen the French film- or work quite as well in reversing expectations.
Still, Russel Crowe has lost none of his old magic- indeed, that's the problem- surely the guy would just need to turn on the twinkly eyed cherubic charms and all those prison guards and police men would have just given him what he wanted?
Again, the idea that muggers might ever conceive of dishing out a kicking to Russel Crowe- don't they know he just has to suck in his gut to turn into Gladiator?- seems bizarre. Okay, Crowe has the acting ability to pull it off- indeed he makes it credible. But the fact remains, his is a larger than life presence- perhaps what this film needed was an Edward Norton who can do the Caspar Milquetoast to Incredible Hulk transition in a manner that tells us things we need to know about violence in our society.
Brian Denehy has a great cameo as the monosyllabic Father. And the kid is adorable. The female lead, however, I've already forgotten, though I saw the movie just 2 days ago. Let me look up her name. Elizabeth Banks. Hey, I like her! Zack & Miri make a porno... whole lot of other stuff... how come I don't remember her face from 2 days ago when I can still recall the face of the French actress who played the original role?
Was she mis-cast? More like wasted, if you ask me. She's a great talent. It would have been great if she and Crowe could have sparked off each other more, perhaps getting a bit more humor in- there's a scene where she tries to jump out of the car when she thinks she won't see her son again- the psychological foundation for this wasn't adequately laid and an opportunity missed for Banks to really own that scene.
Still, it's a perfectly okay film if you haven't seen the French version.