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Directed by Johnny Martin
Written by Michael Caissie, Charles Huttinger, Phil Hawkins
Starring Brittany Snow, Al Pacino, Karl Urban, Sarah Shahi, Joe Anderson, Michael Papajohn, Chelle Ramos, Stephanie Enderby, Steve Coulter, Sloane Warren, Garrick Parks, Kyle David Browning, Shirley Martin, Edward Martin Jr.
Hoo-ahhh! Al Pacino’s gotta eat! At one time, you could count on Pacino to deliver iconic and unique performances, but I guess they can’t all be winners. HANGMAN proves to be a few decades too late to be relevant and Pacino, who would normally elevate a film, gives an uninspired performance that adds nothing.
Pacino plays Detective Archer, a weary detective who has seen it all and doesn’t take any bullshit as evidenced by the precredit car chase initiated by Archer’s car being scuffed by a passing van. When a serial killer called the Hangman begins his killing spree, it’s up to Archer and a profiler named Ruiney (Karl Urban) to track him down. Toss in Brittany Snow as an intrepid reporter and you have a totally bland mix of some pretty fine talent.
The biggest problem of this film is simply how bland it all feels. Pacino did his colorful serial killer movie INSOMNIA back when these types of detective films were all the rage in the 90’s. We all agree that SE7EN was amazing, but for some reason, people with lesser talent keep trying to make serial killer films in that same manner. Basically, these serial killers are Batman villains, hooked on performing themed crimes, but without Batman in it to take them down. This works in comics and for the most part the movies, especially if you have Batman in it. But because HANGMAN doesn’t have the winning chemistry Pitt and Freeman had in SE7EN, nor the twists, turns, and stylistic filmmaking/writing of SE7EN, it just comes across as a bland ripoff.
It doesn’t help that Pacino adds a Southern drawl that makes him sound more like Foghorn Leghorn than any human I know. This drawl seems to be the only effort Pacino puts into the role as he simply looks too tired to be there and his only motivation seems to be getting through the scene so he can go nap in his trailer. Urban is always rather intense, but the script simply doesn’t allow him to say or do anything worthwhile and Snow looks out of place; acting like a kid playing grownup on bring your kid to school day. Add in your bland villain who has Daddy issues and an urge to frame his kills with the Hangman game, and there’s just nothing to see here. Move along and go rewatch SE7EN for the effect this film is aching to be like.
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