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Made Men 
Written by: on June 25th, 2008

Release Date:USA, June 11th, 1999
Director: Louis Morneau
Writers: Robert Franke, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Cast: James Belushi, Michael Beach, Timothy Dalton, Steve Railsback, Carlton Wilborn¬†¬† ¬†, Vanessa Angel, Jamie Harris, David O’Donnell, Tim Kelleher, Skip Carlson, Susan Isaacs

DVD released: December 21st, 1999
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
DVD Release: Sony Pictures
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.95


Synopsis: Bill “the Mouth” Manucci turned stoolie on the mob and stole 12 million dollars from them. He and his wife are in the witness relocation program hiding in the deep South. When his location is discovered the boys from Chicago come looking for their dough and a little payback, too.

This direct-to-video/cable release appears on the surface to be an above average action flick with good special effects and direction. But it’s really not an action film so much as a dark and quirky comedy. The humor is well integrated and sardonic enough that action fans may never notice the true intent.

Considered as a black comedy instead of an action picture, Made Men is sublime. The script, dialog, and offbeat situations must be praised firstly, but Jim Belushi, on a roll from Angel’s Dance, delivers a great performance as the most wise-ass wise-guy there ever was. The dialog is quite juicy and seasoned liberally with ad-lib’s from Belushi.

There are numerous perverse and sometimes sadistic touches, all played with an ironic touch. Not glib enough to be tongue-in-cheek, and played too seriously (and capably) to be camp, some of these characters and situations would be absolutely terrifying if presented with a different sensibility. The many twists and turns of plot are a delicate component of the humorous whole.

This is Jim Belushi’s show for the most part, but the rogues gallery of supporting players is quite interesting. Standouts include Timothy Dalton (‘James Bond’) as a small town sheriff, Jamie Harris (son of Richard Harris) as a sadistic Brit, and Steve Railsback as the patriarch of a particularly vicious clan of hillbillies.

DVD:

The direction in this film is consistently too tight making it appear as intended for full frame but cropped for this anamorphic widescreen presentation. There are several language and subtitle options. This is also a rather early DVD, so the authoring is not up to current expectations, but it’s still a very nice presentation which includes substantial extras including commentary by Belushi with the director, the theatrical trailer, outtakes, and bios.

Made Men is a wry fish-out-of-water mobster comedy that delivers the goods. If you have half as much fun watching this as the cast obviously had making it, then you’ll be ‘in the money’.

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