Review: The Enforcer (2022) | high on movies

Review: The Enforcer (2022) |  high on movies

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Over the decades of mafia movies, the gangster crime genre has created a number of clichés that we no longer find funny. The deep dive into this world by the likes of Martin Scorsese through his experiential films full of intricate character studies has left us in awe. Only a few filmmakers have managed to come up with consistently inventive ways to bring newness to such films. The reason The Enforcer (2022) is such a miserable attempt at making a mob action movie lies in the lack of these aspects. It uses exaggerated formulas of the genre, mostly for B-grade movies, and creates a mess of unseen positives in addition to the ever-reliable Antonio Banderas.

Directed by Richard Hughes, the film stars Antonio Banderas in the title role as a mob enforcer named Cuda. In addition to him, Kate Bosworth stars in the film and plays the role of her femme fatale boss named Estelle, whose orders she follows. Mojean Aria plays the role of Stray, a fighter who gets into fights whenever he gets the chance and attacks with the spirit of a dedicated fighter. Cuda finds out about his competition after a fight he wins, which puts him on a map of influencers in the mafia crime ring. He meets Estelle, who offers him the role of Cuda’s henchman, which he accepts.

An alternative narrative takes shape within this one in which Antonio’s gangster character meets a young woman whom he wants to help at all costs. He reminds her of his little daughter, about the same age, who despises him ever since he found out about the kind of life she leads from her. The dysfunctional family angle for a mob entity is such a tired trope and yet The Enforcer continues to use it with a smug seriousness that falls on his own head. While the complicated father-daughter dynamic doesn’t work because of his lack of inventiveness, even his character’s dynamic with this girl he runs into seems like nothing more than a cheap imitation of the nuanced relationship built by Paul Schrader in Taxi Driver. In fact, that was the first thought that came to my mind when Cudo sees the girl and wants to help her with an intention full of genuine kindness. He feels like an unnecessarily beefy version of Travis Bickle and isn’t as fleshed out as Scorsese’s character.

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The Enforcer (2022) Movie Review

The duel between characters of different stages of power is handled with a conventional approach, both in the script and in the narration. The fight hardly gets you emotionally invested in the stakes of their conflict and it feels severely undercooked. What might make you want to stick around, as already mentioned above, is Antonio Banderas’ performance, who doesn’t do anything exceptionally different or unique, but creates the quiet, macho persona of his consistently engaging character. There is a unique ability that this Spanish actor has, that he has forged over decades of acting experience, where he can get emotional without open expressions. Having worked with the masters of cinema like Pedro Almodóvar and being just as proficient playing action movie characters, he has managed to add depth to the film by his mere presence. That’s what he does here in this movie, that he benefits from his presence.

In addition to his acting, the cinematography done by Callan Green and his team that creates a set with its neon-filled nightscapes can keep one interested in experiencing a series of brutal fights. While the camera work or framing isn’t particularly significant, it does make you invest in the emotion of the fight sequences. The script written by W. Peter Iliff does not bring anything new to the table in terms of a gangster crime action movie. It ends up feeling like a long and exhausting festival since it doesn’t have anything exceptional to offer.

While Mojean Aria and Kate Bosworth may make you want to stick around for the duration because of their performances, they’re not enough to mask the film’s inadequacies from its script to its storytelling. The arc of redemption that the film attempts through its script can be satisfying for the viewer. However, what The Enforcer takes you to get there is a lot of mess that he wishes he had skipped.

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THE ENFORCER (2022) CAST: Antonio Banderas, Kate Bosworth, Mojean Aria, Alexis Ren, Zolee Griggs
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About the Author: Pierre Cohen

A person who has expertise in politics and writes articles to fill his spare time as a hobby.