Good Becomes Bad
- The Y2K Get Carter remake of the great 1971 film (starring Michael Caine in the title role) of the same name is puzzling to me. First of all, why anyone would want to remake a great film is beyond my comprehension. Second of all, the 2000 version of Get Carter is so bad one wonders how it could possibly have been based on the 1971 original.
One can only assume that the intention of a group of filmmakers who are remaking a great film is to attempt to make another great film to go along side of it, right? If that is the case, why did the producers hire a director who had never made a good film? Director Stephen T. Kay brings a sort of FX-TV look, complete with a neo-MTV soundtrack, to the resurrected Get Carter (and we are talking about a living dead sort-of resurrection here). Yeah, put that in your pipe and smoke it....
Then they get writer David McKenna to write the screenplay. McKenna had the Oscar-nominated American History X under his belt at that point (though the Oscar-nom went to actor Edward Norton), but he followed up with the critically-panned Body Shots (1999). One would think that would have been a red flag, but hey, luckily I do not have to defend the choice.
The original Get Carter featured a dark anti-hero character on a revenge mission against the British mob. However, under McKenna's pen, the story steps away from a brutal crime story about one man's darkness in the 1971 film and moves into what is the 2000 Get Carter remake. The 2000 film still includes a heavy gangster element as its original did (though it is set in the United States) but the character of Carter went from the dark character who is just as villanious as his enemies to some kind of Angel of Justice that is far less dimensional and interesting. On top of that, the story is significantly changed and features and ending that is FAR less powerful and unique than the original Get Carter. McKenna also murders the dialogue as well. For example, we go from Caine's Carter's intimidating "like piss-holes in the snow" description of Eric's eyes to Stallone's Carter's laughable "like cat-piss in the snow" description of Cyrus' eyes. "Cat-piss"? Really? How did McKenna decide on "cat-piss" anyway?
Then we get to the cast which, in my opinion, is hit-or-miss. But hey, at least we have a couple of hits. Miranda Richardson does well in her supporting role as Gloria Carter, Jack's sister in law, and Rachael Leigh Cook also gives a good performance in her supporting role as Doreen Carter, Jack's niece. Sylvester Stallone does the best job with the boring, flat Jack Carter character that he was dealt to play. Sure, he is no Michael Caine - but who is? Stallone relatively holds his own throughout the film despite being surrounded by a mostly horrid supporting cast: John C. McGinley, Alan Cumming, and Mickey Rourke are all painfully bad. You know the feeling when an actor is so bad that you feel embarrassed for them? Well, these three supporting performances in Get Carter are perfect examples of this!
Then we have Michael Caine.... of whom I honestly cannot decide whether or not gives a good performance because I cannot get over what a backstabbing Judas he is for being apart of this film in the first place! Caine has admitted that he does a lot of films just for the cash and this has got to be one of those jobs - it just has to be!
Run, don't walk, to the great original 1971 Get Carter film instead of this atrocity.