Mar 30, 2008

88 Minutes

88 Minutes
is a new crime thriller starring Al Pacino. While it is a below average thriller with predictable twists, this is not the topic of the article. Al Pacino, since starring in the over-rated Scarface, has been living in Tony Montana's shadow for far too long. The film opens up with a vulgar hip-hop song, to either show the forensic psychiatrist's party side, or perhaps a subliminal ode to Pacino's glory days.

When Scarface first debuted, this film wasn't associated with airbrushed tall tee's and rap songs. Scarface was about a brutal crime syndicate ran by a sadistic cokehead. De Palma's film started as one thing, then completely changed directions. It's impossible to watch a Pacino film and not think of Scarface. Urban youth feel inspired by the damnedest things.

Later in 88 Minutes, Bubba Sparxxx's song "Mrs. New Booty" plays loud and noticeable, even when it doesn't tie in with the film in the slightest. Instead of promoting his crime films as a gritty portrait of city decay, he caters to these urban ideals that have been imprinted on his career. After all, if he didn't suck up to the young blacks, he wouldn't have gotten much of anywhere nowadays.

Other than Pacino's role in the film, this film also borrows heavily from other films in the genre. Many serial killer films use the same "You will die in ____" See also; The entire SAW series. The capital punishment perspective is also derived from the film The Life of David Gale. One thing i picked up while viewing this film, is the the casting.

88 Minutes is a film marketed towards the urban audience, with it's voracious use of rap in the soundtrack and it's key role, it does deliver, but i noticed something very strange. In all of it's run time, I recall only 1 black person. This character was so minor, I don't even recall him saying a single word. Perhaps some form of detachment or hidden racism is at play.

This film seems to be anti-black. The pitch black poster was soon ditched and a new poster with Al Pacino surrounded by clocks and fire were distributed. The film is just a collage of crazy white people, screaming and framing each other. 88 Minutes is a mess of racial expectations intended to destroy "white" America. When things get too blurred, what tactic does the film incorporate? Throw a speeding fire truck driving into a crowd to spice the film up with action.

Overall, the entire feel of the film feels too forced and presents itself as extremely generic, but it does reward you with a semi-watchable film. 88 Minutes might give Pacino the chance he needs in order to revive his film career into at least something visually edible. He just needs to learn how to move on, and to realize that he is getting old. Need i mention that the film revolving around a runtime of 88 Minutes is 108 minutes?


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