Its 6:45 pm
After watching the hot pile of catpoo that was “Supercon”,the cheetah and I were eager to get back to good films. We had a choice of a movie fellow critic Darren Lucas really liked called “Skybound” or a Lionsgate distributed suspense film called “Hangman” featuring Al Pacino,Karl Urban and Brittany Snow. It was a tough call but Paladin picked “Hangman” and away we went….
The film opens with Detective Ray Archer (Pacino) getting into a high speed pursuit and arresting a suspected bomber. As Archer approaches the suspect’s van,he sees a weird necklace hanging from the rear view mirror…
Flash forward a year and we meet Detective Will Ruiney (Urban) who is returning to duty after his wife was brutally killed and her killer was never caught. He is also a profiler for his department which only adds to his stress in finding the killer.
Ruiney meets journalist Christi Davies who wants to write a story on Ruiney about how hard the police work to make us all safe.
Will gets called out to a murder in which the victim is hung with what appears a letter carved into the body. He also discovers two badge numbers etched in a desk in the teacher’s room.Will develops a lead,the victim was a school teacher and it appears she was in a violent relationship with her boyfriend Joey. Will decides to get some insight on Joey so he finds Archer,who is now retired, and asks for his help. When Will tells about the badges, Archer agrees to help and soon they find Joey…who turns out to be a woman. After Joey finds out her girlfriend is dead,she breaks down in tears. Will decides to take a break and gets Joey a can of soda while he talks to Archer. As they talk,Christi shouts in alarm….Joey has used the can and slit her wrists….
That same night another victim is found at around the same time. The two detectives start working harder and actually get ahead of the Hangman’s next victim. The victim is hung over a railroad track and is still alive. Will tries to save him but only because Archer pulls him aside that Will is saved. They discover that the killer wanted the cops there at that time.
While Captain Watson (Sarah Shahi) threatens to take Ruiney off the case,Christi and Ray discover a link between the murder of Will’s wife and the Hangman’s murders.
With the killer striking everyday,the stakes are raised as both colleagues and friends are targeted by this cunning game player and there aren’t many letters left to play…..
So the cheetah and I were left more confused and a bit let down by “Hangman”.
We felt it missed out on a lot of chances to become a really good mystery. “Hangman” had good action,a good premise,a couple of nifty chase scenes,an unlikely red herring which I fell for and the three leads worked well together.
But the minuses were a bit too many to overcome. The game itself was completely ignored,no effort was made to find out what the Hangman was spelling or why. This HUGE plot hole is enough to sink the film but add in the extremely and unwarranted hostile Captain Watson and the fact after a serial killer has killed 4 victims in the same way,you’re not going to have just one cop,one RETIRED cop and a young journalist be your “task force” in solving this crime. In the words of another famous police chief,”You’re going to need a bigger boat” of which Hangman doesn’t get.
Because it doesn’t we get more interaction between Pacino and Urban and we liked that. But we also like logic as well….so maybe writers Charles Huttinger and Michael Caissie could explain why they had Sarah Shahi’s Captain Watson in Shaw mode throughout the film instead of providing Ruiney and Archer more support?
Pacino,Urban and Snow work very hard here and Johnny Martin puts them through the paces but the script and story leaves Hangman hung out to dry….
Hangman is rated “R” and has a run time of 1 hour 40 minutes. It includes two featurettes in the special features.
We both gave “Hangman” a thumbs/paws slightly down. This should have and could have been a modern classic.
If you have seen “Hangman”,drop a comment and share your thoughts.