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‘Savages’: Movie Review

Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta,
Uma Thurman, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek
Studio: Universal Picture

Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch), share a livelihood — marjiuana  growing — and a woman, O (Blake Lively). When their successful operation comes to the attention of a Mexican cartel, the pair get an offer they refuse. Big mistake. The cartel refuses to take “no” for an answer and kidnaps O to force Ben and Chon to concede to their demands. Second big mistake. What follows is what makes for a big box-office splash: plenty of gunplay, things blowing up, menacing bad guys — and one bad girl, Salma Hayek, who plays cartel boss Elena. Moviegoers will be taken aback by Hayek’s performance. Her saturnine demeanor is bone-chilling. But hey, we get it, she is the boss, and she can’t rely on her feminine charms to control a ruthless organization. Director Oliver Stone knows how to coax exactly what he wants from his actors, which makes for memorable characters, if not great cinema. –p.d. lee