Once again, nostalgia. I’ve been feeling it for a while now and it’s been more constant ever since I hit my half century mark last December. I’m not saying that today is horrible but it definitely doesn’t hold a candle to the 80’s and 90’s and even the late 70’s that I can remember. This was most prevalent in movies. Film back then was less apologetic and fun for some reason and the action genre was at it’s all time high in theaters as well as home video.
Buddy actioners like 48 Hrs., Midnight Run, and so forth we’re very popular and the birth of the action-comedy was born. We learned that you could mix hard hitting violent R rated action with great levity and when mixed in a blender perfectly, it resonated one hell of a good time. I even saw myself rolling with movies like Money Talks with Charlie Sheen and Chris Tucker. Who remembers that one? You know you do.
Well, leave it to indie action scribe Chad Law and co-writer Gary Charles to craft a buddy action pic that looks, smells, and acts like it’s 1985 all over again. The plot is straightforward with versatile character actor Theo Rossi starring as no-nonsense skip tracer Mal Cooper. You see, Mal was one of the police department’s best and and brightest but unfortunately he lost his job having punched a senator’s son in the nose for being a vile bag of shit. Mal wouldn’t apologize seeing as the piece of trash had it coming so now he spends his days working for dubious Alexander Rogan (a deliriously right on Kim Coates) of Bad Boys Bail Bonds Agency (love that title BTW and it brings a clever joke at the beginning) bringing in low lives for the right price.
Mal’s latest assignment has him going after Jake Gordon (Shane Paul McGhie) who is your average grifter, petty theif, and scammer. Jake is the star witness against a local incarcerated crime boss named Alonzo Beaumont (Anthony “Treach” Criss) and even though the payday is good, every mercenary and gun toting baddie is after our unlikely pair to silence Jake once and for all.
What transpires is a brisk 86 minute plus chase flick loaded with shoot outs, beatdowns and one liners as our two anti-heroes try to stay one step ahead of the army of killers after them and the dirty cops who want to make sure Jake doesn’t point the finger at them for doing some nefarious things.
Rossi is a definite underrated talent and he usually plays slimy killers (like in Vendetta) or bad seeds so to see him headline the movie as heroic but flawed Mal was awesomely refreshing as his character is someone you will want to root for. He’s got his own ways of doing things and he’s not afraid to go off book when he has too and together with McGhie’s Jake, we have an unbeatable pair to the end.
I couldn’t help but think of Nolte and Murphy while watching this film as the two work off each other perfectly and radiate true is against the establishment vibes. They even get to beat the crap out of each other in a scene that brings their partnership all together.
Director Jared Cohn, who is no stranger for delivering solid action and story on a budget, keeps the proceedings moving along and there is never a dull moment as an action sequel is usually right around the corner but at the sane time, the quieter moments are just as impactful. Cohn, who just wrote a book about his career as a filmmaker, knows what genre fans want and he gives it to them the best he can with the restraints that come with working on a tight budget and shooting schedule.
The supporting cast led by Dermot Mulroney is always a solid choice whether it be action or drama and Mulroney plays Mal’s former police chief straight and without any cliches..well maybe one cliche. I’m not gonna lie as I kind of wanted to see Mulroney yell a few times as that was a prerequisite for being a head police honcho back in the day.
Kim Coates stills the show every time he’s on the screen as Mal’s current employer and you know that he’s probably up to know good but he’s just so damn likable for all the wrong reasons that you don’t care. Sufe Bradshaw is a pleasure as Mal’s former partner and her scenes with Rossi are some of the best although I was hoping for a better outcome with her character.
Former rapper turned actor Anthony “Treach” Criss is always filled with gravitas to spare and here as Beaumont, his character isn’t the usual crime guy that you’re used to. Like certain ogres, he’s got layers and they are refreshing to see none the less. Pop quiz hotshot! Who remembers a time when Treach was a DTV action star and in what Wesley Snipes’ action franchise did he star in for the third entry? Good one huh?
In terms of story, there are some solid twists and turns and I loved Jake’s side story with his ill mother as it gave him a much deserved likable side in the end and kept things realistic and grounded with some heartfelt sentiment. Unfortunately, you’ll see who the major baddie is a long way’s off but it won’t hinder your enjoyment of the movie as you’ll just want to roll with it. I will say that there is a twist with Treach’s character that was a welcome sight as usually his type of involvement usually only speaks one thing. That’s not the case here.
The Getback doesn’t have any huge, bombastic set pieces, although there is a car chase/shootout that is a highlight, but there are numerous bullet filled sequences throughout and enough kill shots to satisfy the Bloodthirsty crowd. Throw in some above average unarmed combat and there’s something for everyone. Rossi delivers in both the firepower and fisticuffs categories and throws his hat into the ring for the next indie action star.
The Getback is another Tubi Original and this free streaming service is really taking on the paid competition by giving fans a vast catalog of hard to find action mixed with blockbusters. If you can stand a few limited commercial interruptions then you’ll find everything here from lost gems to new product in both film and television.
Overall, The Getback is 86 minutes of solid action and comedy with a little dash of heartfelt drama thrown in for good measure. You want to root for the good guys and Rossi and McGhie make a great pair resonating with stellar onscreen chemistry. Mulroney, Coates and company serve up a spit polished supporting crew and there’s plenty of brutal action to keep things moving along. It’s near spotless retro right up to the key art for the movie. Come for the buddy action-comedy formula but stay for everything else it gives you.
VERDICT: 3.5 Out of 5 Stars
The Getback delivers a near spotless retro looking buddy actioner complete with zippy one liners and hard hitting action!
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