Knockaround Guys (2001)

  • Time: 93 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Directors: Brian Koppelman, David Levien
  • Cast: Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, John Malkovich, Jennifer Baxter, Dennis Hopper, Seth Green


The four sons (Diesel, Green, Pepper, Davoli) of major Brooklyn mobsters have to team up to retrieve a bag of cash in a small Montana town ruled by a corrupt sheriff. Specifically, the story gets started when Matt Demaret (Pepper) goes on a job to deliver the money for his mob father (Hopper) on the advice of his uncle (Malkovich). Things don’t go as planned though…

One comment

  • One has to pity Barry Pepper for his inauspicious jump into public consciousness as the lead hero of John Travolta’s expensive tribute to the self-proclaimed genius of L. Ron Hubbard. In this, the first film I have seen him in since, he manages to give a convincing performance as the son of a mafioso who is trying to not follow in his father’s footsteps, but keeps getting knocked back by polite society.

    The character’s solution is to go back to what he knows. Rallying for an assignment in his father’s enterprise, he finds himself in a fix when one of the men he trusts to help in his endeavour manages to misplace the cash. Before this, we are told that money is going missing elsewhere in the organisation, giving us a little subplot that could have been interesting had it been fleshed out more.

    In the end, the film comes out like a lighter version of Guy Ritchie’s first few features that is missing the comedic element. Vin Deisel gets a reasonable turn as the philosophical hit-man who urges the lead to reconsider his new career choice. It’s a pity that the rest of the film wasn’t that well-developed, because Deisel literally becomes a diamond in the rough here. Dennis Hopper and John Malkovich give their standard performances as the elder statesmen of the organisation. Malkovich in particular stands out in a surprise ending that makes watching the other eighty minutes worthwhile.

    The problem with Knockaround Guys is that it doesn’t feature enough to stand out from the rest of the proverbial crowd. The overall film is very formulaic and risk-free, which in the end hurts its chance of success. It really feels like the screenwriter wasn’t even trying. Not that this absolutely would have saved the film, but it is still worth contemplating.

    I gave Knockaround Guys a seven out of ten. It’s not great, but it is entertaining, and uses its running time well. A box of popcorn and a few beers will make this ninety minutes rather pleasant.

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