I’m visiting my old man at Christmas and while watching the game the TV commercial for this movie ‘Catch .44’ comes on. Since this is the first I’ve heard of this film, I can see it’s a Straight to DVD / Blu-Ray / VOD joint, and I’m not used to my Straight to DVD movies getting TV commercials. ‘Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus’ didn’t get blessed with a TV commercial, know what I’m saying? But considering this movie has Bruce Willis and Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker amongst its cast, we can see where it would rate a TV commercial. Does this mean that ‘Catch .44’ is a good movie because it has a TV commercial? You know it doesn’t. Does this mean that ‘Catch .44’ is just another crap movie with a budget large enough to buy a TV commercial? Pretty much.
Our film opens on a desolate road with Tes (Malin Akerman) looking like warmed over hell, driving down the street in a black sedan. But that’s the end of the movie. Backing up a little bit we see Tes with Kara (Nikki Reed) and Dawn (Deborah Ann Woll), a trio of hardcore chicks sitting in a diner talking about nothing in particular, at least nothing that has that has anything to do with this movie, when the stuff jumps off. The girls, we believe, are there to do a job, the job goes bad and one of the girls is now dead. We know already that dead girl isn’t Tes since we saw her driving down the street. But not so fast my friends because that’s close to the end of the story. We need to back up even further
On this backtrack we see one of the future dead girls getting out of the shower. About this… I understand actress Nikki Reed isn’t trying to get naked in this movie, completely understandable, but I don’t think most people exit the shower at their own house wearing a towel and then leaves the towel on while they do everything from brush their teeth to making their breakfast while holding this towel up with one hand. Most folks either will do these things naked or at the very least, dry off and put on some clothes. Just saying is all.
Regardless, Dawn picks Nikki up so they can swoop up Tes from the strip club… she’s not a stripper mind you… so they do this gig that we know already gets one of them
killed. Jump ahead to the scene we’ve already seen where one of the girls get flatblasted, and now two tough chicks are dead. We know already that the second dead girl isn’t Tes, right?
Where does Forest Whitaker come to play in all of this? Well, Forest plays the character of Danny who uses a series of very odd accents in this movie for whatever reason. Danny, we believe, is a Cuban working for Big Boss Mel (Bruce Willis), the same guy that the three hardcore chicks works for. I’m not completely sure what illegal activity these women do for Mel, but whatever the last job was, it also went straight to hell, but Mel being a nice guy and all has given them another opportunity with this present gig. The one we already know has gone all to hell as well. Following me? If not, don’t worry, it’s not going to get much clearer.
Back and forth in time we go, the plot getting murkier every step of the way, but eventually we will all end up in this dusty diner with the always popular standoff, folks looking at each other telling the others to put down their guns. I’ve never been in a standoff, but if I planned to shoot you anyway, and considering the speed at which the average bullet travels, I like my chances and I wouldn’t be in the standoff very long. Believe that. But who survives? Uh… Tes does.
Written and directed by Aaron Harvey, ‘Catch .44’ harkens back to a time when ‘Pulp Fiction’ was popular… rightly so… and spawned a litany of awful crime movies featuring various characters engaged in otherwise inane conversations while existing in a fractured timeline. We had thought those days were over. It’s unfortunate really because Mr. Harvey did have a talented veteran cast to work with and we are fans of the crime genre, but there were too many things that just didn’t work out in this movie for my man.
For starters, I’ve never been a fan that of a movie that gives away vital pieces of information, information that could be critical in building tension, from the opening scene. You see we know from the opening that Tes is going to drive away, so when there’s the super tense standoff at the end, we already know who’s walking away from that standoff now don’t we? The fractured timeline, as it turns out was also somewhat disconcerting. Because of the fractured timeline it was difficult for this movie to get a decent pace and rhythm going, and since the characters weren’t all that interesting or sympathetic, compounded by the fact that they all were woefully underdeveloped, this movie needed to get by on adrenaline it just didn’t have. I don’t know if ‘Catch .44’ would’ve been better if it were told linearly… the story being told was still suspect when you consider that there’s probably easier ways for mob bosses to get rid of bad employees… and maybe there were logistical reasons for the style in which this story was told to us, but I don’t think the style they settled on did the movie any favors.
And because of our high level respect of Forest Whitaker, we are going to avoid mentioning his choice of inflection for this film. We’re going to say it was director Harvey’s idea, even though it probably wasn’t.
‘Catch .44’ is a good looking film, it’s a violent movie, it has some fine actors amongst its cast but it’s also damn near unwatchable. Damn near.