Brothers in Arms Release Date: 2005 Genre: Action | Western Director(s): Jean-Claude La Marre (Sugar Valentine, Go For Broke) Writer(s): Jean-Claude La Marre & Antonio Olivas (Miner’s Massacre) Starring: David Carradine, Kurupt, Ed Lauter, Glenn Plummer Just last week I was searching around the TiVo listings to see if there was anything worthwhile to record […]

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Brothers in Arms
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Action | Western
Director(s): Jean-Claude La Marre (Sugar Valentine, Go For Broke)
Writer(s): Jean-Claude La Marre & Antonio Olivas (Miner’s Massacre)
Starring: David Carradine, Kurupt, Ed Lauter, Glenn Plummer

Just last week I was searching around the TiVo listings to see if there was anything worthwhile to record on Friday night. As per the usual for a summer night, the line-up was filled with repeats and various run-off from canceled shows, so I didn’t select anything. One particular network’s offering did catch my eye, and this is a rare occurrence; UPN. Since UPN has officially given up hope of ever being a seven-day network, they were showing a movie that horrified me a year and a half ago. That movie was Gang of Roses, an awful western about black female cowboys that was directed by urban mainstay Jean-Claude La Marre. And what arrived to my house just a couple days later?

Le Marre’s follow-up to Gang of Roses, Brothers in Arms, which I imagine would’ve been called Brothas In Arms if Maverick had picked it up.

While it’s better than Gang of Roses, which isn’t much of an achievement considering the solid 1 that it received, Brothers in Arms still reflects the fact that La Marre really needs to consider sticking to the Juney Smith area of filmmaking. But since Go For Broke, a low budget urban comedy he made that Maverick managed to get distribution for through Artisan, did enormously well financially, he’s been able to convince crazy producers to give him solid budgets for his hip-hop westerns.

Brothers in Arms is about one-dimension as you can get from a movie that ohhh so desperately wants to do nothing more than turn the traditional western upside down. In the forty-five minutes that the audience must sit through before the plot actually gets moving, La Marre introduces us to a gang of black cowboys who each have one distinguishing quality to their name. There’s the reverend that lost his faith yet still reads the bible religiously (huh?), the guy who got his hands burned by the KKK, the fiery female, and two others. They get back together to a rob a bank filled with bars of gold, but the evil Governor Driscoll (Carradine) has no plans to let them get away alive. This assumes that you believe a governor who doesn’t want bank robbers to abscond freely is a bad man.

Here’s a perfect of example of why LaMarre’s just a bad director and writer. The only reason why Driscoll comes off as evil is because David Carradine is, and always will be, the man. He’s arrogant, but is that really a great central antagonist in a western? And then you’ve got worthless supporting characters from men like Ed Lauter, a comedic actor who is way too goofy to ever play a serious role, and Glenn Plummer, who must have had a tight schedule considering he couldn’t have been on set for more than a day.

La Marre wasn’t satisfied with just having black cowboys. He added a female Sheriff, who is also Spanish, that wears silver lipstick. If that’s not bad enough, he actually plays rap and hip-hop music during the action scenes. For crying out loud, it’s a WESTERN. If you want to change things a bit, feel free, but at least try and be logical. If I was to make a sci-fi movie with Steven Seagal as the President of a futuristic nation, and top it off with bubblegum pop music playing while Seagal sits around having long discussions about the stock market, it would no doubt be unique. Why will Avi Lerner not e-mail me tomorrow asking me to flesh that into a script that he’ll purchase for six figures? Aside from the fact that he probably doesn’t read my reviews, he wouldn’t ask for the script because it’s a spectacularly stupid idea. Certainly original, but still mind numbingly stupid.

Brothers in Arms is a mess. Once again, not as big of a mess as Gang of Roses, but it’s still far from a success.
DVD: A fifteen-minute behind the scenes featurette that is self-indulgent crap.

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Brothers in Arms, 3.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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