In “Revolver,” Jake Green (played by Jason Stathem) is sent to prison by casino crime boss Macha (Ray Liotta). While serving seven years in solitary confinement, he learns the formula for the perfect gambling con. After his release, Green puts the formula to good use by beating Macha at a game of chance in his own casino. Macha, insulted and upset by this turn around, orders a hit on Jake. Luckily for Jake, his life is saved by two loan sharks (Zach and Avi, played by Vincent Pastore and Andre Benjamin) who convince Jake to join them. At this point, he learns that he has a rare blood disease and will die within a few days. Zach and Avi tell him they can cure him but will require him to give away all the money he’s won. Jake agrees to this although he’s unsure how it will help. During this time, the trio manages to start a war between Macha and his rival, Lord John. In the end, this movie is about revenge and redemption.
Jake Green just finished serving seven years in solitary confinement, thanks to casino crime boss, Macha. While he was in, he learned a formula for the perfect con from the two inmates on either side of his cell. Now that he’s out, he’s looking to get revenge on the man that sent him to prison. He does this by beating Macha in a game of chance at his own casino. Macha, enraged and embarrassed, orders his men to kill Jake. Jake survives, thanks to two loan sharks, Zach and Avi, who come to his rescue. The rescue has some strings attached as Jake learns that his new partners want him to give away all the money he’s won, as well as perform some other jobs for them. Jake agrees because he’s just learned he has a rare blood disease that will kill him in a few days and the loan sharks can help him. As Jake continues to give away his money, the trio orchestrates a war between Macha and his rival, Lord John. They also manage to sour a deal between Macha and the powerful and elusive Sam Gold, a major player in the underworld. As the movie continues, Jake begins to question his obedience to these two enigmatic loan sharks and comes to a major crossroads in his life. It’s at this point that he renounces violence and begins to deal with the inner demons that he’s been struggling with.
This movie has lot of flashbacks that are convoluted and difficult to follow. Every line and scene seems to be a misplaced metaphor for some deeper meaning that director Guy Richie doesn’t address very well. Nearly the entire movie is laced with internal monologue that constantly deals with nonsensical inner turmoil and blind stabs at the human condition. Self-serving inner soliloquies and badly placed anime fight scenes only detract further from a film with far too much detraction already. This is too bad because the actors do give such great performances. Stathem does some of his best growling and prowling while Liotta steals every scene he’s in. Even the supporting characters provide some good depth and intensity. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen so much good acting wasted on such a steaming pile of celluloid.
“Revolver” tries to combine the deft plot twists and flashbacks of “Pulp Fiction” but only manages to confuse the audience. It also tries to pull of a smart, snappy con game like “Ocean’s Eleven” but can’t quite pull it off. The story of revenge and redemption that Richie was looking for turned out to be just a trite exercise in time-wasting. This rated R film was originally release in Europe back in 2005, but only recently reached the U.S. in early December 2007. If you see this film, you’ll wish they’d have waited even longer. I cannot recommend this film for anything except a bad example of how not to make a movie.