With career-boosting turns from helmer Daniel Espinosa & lead Joel Kinnaman, two fast sequels, a rumored English-Language remake and Martin Scorsese slapping his imprimatur on for a Stateside release*, you expect a bit more than this formulaic man-in-the-middle drug-run gone wrong mob tale. At least, the set-up brings out a couple of nice plot twists as striving college Econ Major Kinnaman drools at his chance to drop his chump-change cabbie job and join the Scandinavian upper-crust. He’s already got the looks, and it just so happens that his cab outfit boss sidelines in drug smuggling. And, wouldn’t you just know, one of his rich new pals is scion of a struggling bank looking for some fresh bigtime cash flow . . . no questions asked. Alas, the drug dealers come in two deadly varieties: Stocky, dark, hairy Arabs; Stocky, dark, hairy Serbs. That makes Kinnaman, lean, blond, smooth to the touch, just the finance-savvy guy they need to make connections. But whom can he trust?, and whose side does he play on when an internecine war starts up? It’s a situation that’s grown cable-weary, with actors too pleased at their own crowd-pleasing ticks. But Espinosa shows real talent at quiet moments, letting things flow naturally. The rest is the usual faux-adrenalin hand-held bobble, interrupted by big action set-pieces that are all sound & fury, missing the pleasures of watching a thing happen.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: *Marty’s fans didn’t show and the sequels never opened theatrically over here.