Its 9:31 pm
Despite getting a whole slew of new films down in the stash pile,the cheetah and I have been sort of caught in a older film cycle. Last Friday night,I introduced Paladin to Chow Yun-Fat as we watched “The Replacement Killers” and had a completely fun time. I hadn’t seen it in a very long time but just as I did then,I enjoyed the hell out of watching Chow in action. One could even suggest that “John Wick” was probably influenced more then a little bit by Yun-Fat’s assassin John Lee.
After watching “The Replacement Killers” as well as “Picasso Trigger”,the cheetah and I decided to stay in the 90s and this led us to a movie that was sent to us by our friend Pam.
“The Immortals” came out in 1995 and was released by Nu Image who was known for putting out gritty crime and action films. My copy was included in a 4 film collection put out by Echo Bridge. I was a little leery at first because The Immortals featured one of the Unholy Three,Eric Roberts as the lead but being this was a mid-90s role,I figured he still would at least give a damn and put some effort into his performance.
The film opens rather abruptly with casino manager Jack (Roberts) addressing a group of eight people he has assembled during a huge Halloween costume party at his hotel. He has gathered six men and a woman and along with his friend George,is going to have them pair up with another member and pull off a series of 4 thefts in which they’ll be stealing a total of 7 million dollars.
What Jack doesn’t tell them is WHO they are robbing and WHY he chose them for this daring heist. All they are told is where to go,work with their partner and return to the hotel by 9:30 pm and don’t be late.
The four teams go out and manage to pull off each job with varying degrees of sucess but they do do the jobs and manage to find their way back with the four cases of money that Jack told them to take.
It is while they are at the hotel that the crew starts comparing notes and realize that Jack is no ordinary thief and that the man they ripped off is a powerful mobster who coming for whoever stole his money and worse yet is that he knows Jack is involved.
With the cops on the outside and a very vengeful mobster inside,these 8 different people from all walks of life are about to find out what being immortal truly means….if they can survive the night and each other.
Alright,so based on the brief plot,this looks like a pretty action packed shoot’em up crime drama,right? You have mobsters,a cool savvy leader,a crew of strangers being asked to work together against impossible odds,friendships being forged in the heat of battle and a big pay day. Nothing that we haven’t seen before about 50 times,right?
Well,”The Immortals” is a complete ball of surprises and quite funny. See,you haven’t seen the hook that writer Elie Samaha came up with and that screenwriter Kevin Bernhardt put in director Brian Grant’s hands and when you do,it’s a daisy.
While normally a film that starts way too fast and doesn’t really tell you anything about the main characters can sour it before it gets started,”The Immortals” had to start off that way,the brakeneck speed at which you meet our 8 strangers and get them out and robbing is critical as to keep the big twist a secret and in this rare case,it works well for the viewer.
But the biggest thing that this B movie has going for it is the A list cast because “The Immortals” assembled a hell of a cast for this kind of movie. I am happy to say my gut instinct was right about Eric Roberts,he shows again on how he should have been a such a great star if only he had made smarter choices. His Jack is all business and yet has unexpected compassionate bond with George,who is mentally slow. Roberts looks sleek and lethal here and is shown to be a good leader who is ready for anything.
Joe Pantoliano plays Pete,an avowed racist who isn’t afraid express his racist views.
Of course Jack pairs him up with Benny (Clarence Williams III) who happens to be African-American. They manage to rob their target cleanly but when Benny’s car has issues,what had been a cakewalk turns out to be anything but.
The second pair features the lovely Tia Carrere as Gina,a tough woman who happens to be 3 months pregnant. But she needs the payday that Jack offered and thus finds herself paired with small time hustler Deke (Chris Rock) who talks bigger then he really is. Gina and Deke have a nice heart to heart about when to touch a lady and when not to….
The third pairing sees Tim (William Forsythe) a man’s man paired with Kerry (Kieran Mulroney) who happens to be gay. As the night goes one,Tim and Kerry find out they more in common then they realize.
The last pairing sees the slow George (Brian T. Finney) paired with the sharpest mind in the group,Billy (played by Bernhardt). These two are the funniest pairing as their heist goes from bad,George calling Billy by his real name,to worse,Billy shooting himself,to comedy gold as George didn’t put gas in his truck and the two barely make it back to the others.
Of course you need a great actor to play the mob boss and who better then Tony Curtis,he play it light as he did in “Vega$” or heavy,in The Immortals,he does both.
In the best scene of the movie,Jack and his crew are facing off against Dominic’s (Curtis) crew in the kitchen area. With guns pointed everywhere,Jack and Dominic direct their sides to shoot at each other like a game of chess.
I really enjoyed “The Immortals” and am quite surprised it isn’t at the very least a cult favorite but until I watched it with the cheetah,I had never heard of it. But I sure hope that changes because this movie is a keeper.
“The Immortals” is rated “R” and has a run time of 90 minutes. You can check for a copy on Amazon.
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