Rewatched Apr 29, 2012
Tony Black’s review:
I remember absolutely loving this movie when I first watched it on release. I was around 17, in my last year of college. I found it an immensely cool, stylish look at young people across the pond, enjoying its mesh of crime drama alongside the teen aspect, not to mention the Tarantino-esque fragmented narrative. Age, however, has allowed me to see through the hype - Doug Liman's black comedy is still fun but very disposable, and not nearly as clever as it would like to think.
Of the three narratives in play, all connecting to an opening set of scenes inside an LA supermarket, only one truly held my interest and felt as though it had told its own complete story within 30 minutes - that of Desmond Askew's venal Simon. The others had moments of spark but played the edges instead of hitting home. Liman and writer John August seem so in love with the idea of the picture, they forget to truly make it gel properly - and while a hip soundtrack mixed with some amusing dialogue help sell the ride, without a strong enough tether to each plot it comes across far too scattershot and episodic. Tarantino-esque it wants to be, but it's not in that league; nor are the players - from the ensemble only William Fichtner (as a repressed gay cop) and Taye Diggs (extolling tantric sex) particularly stand out, the rest not particularly engaging or veering on downright annoying at times.
It's worth a watch though. Certainly a product of its time now, there's a real sense of late-90's style about it that lends it some charm, and you can see the tricks Liman would bring to the first Bourne movie starting to bloom, but it's ultimately very throwaway and doesn't quite scale the heights of darkly comic brilliance it's clearly trying to ape.