The Bag Man

The Bag Man

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Running Time: 
108 minutes
Bonus Features

Behind the scenes of The Bag Man and Digital Copy

The job should be a simple one, pick up the bag, transport the bag, wait, hand the bag over, and get paid for the job. At least that's the way the job should have went down but Jack (played by John Cusack quickly discovers that this simple job is anything but simple. Stuck in a rundown motel in the middle of nowhere, Jack must live through the night as hit men, cops, a hooker, some pimps, and even the motel manager in a wheelchair hassles him about what he's up to. Jack has no clue what's in the bag that his boss Dragna (played by Robert De Niro) wants him to get but it's something that has a lot of people looking for the bag and Jack. It might only be one night but Jack it might be his last night.
Considering this movie has John Cusack, Robert De Niro, and Crispin Glover in it I expected this to be a really good movie. I figured this was one of those independent movies that these big name stars work on that they do because it has a great plot and characters. I will get to the plot aspect after this but right now let me talk acting by these guys. It's not what I was expecting.
From the start of the movie we are introduced to Robert De Niro as Dragna, a ruthless crime boss who wants a mysterious bag to be delivered to him by Jack, who is John Cusack's character. Right from that point I was given the impression that Jack is supposed to be this tough, take no prisoner guy who is being asked to do this job because no one else would be able to. However, I should have known that John Cusack was going to play the same style he does when it comes to being a tough guy, which is always the same. There's the usual slight turning of his head as he tries to be tough but he just comes across as someone that's trying to act tough but isn't. I typically like John Cusack, he's been a favorite of mine for a long time, but this is not a movie he shines in. He does ok, but he's just not the tough guy that the character is made out to be. 
As for Robert De Niro, well the man knows how to play a crime boss and he does a decent job in this movie. However, it's Crispin Glover that is the break out character in this movie. His performance as Ned the motel manager was really good. If you want someone to play a creepy guy then Crispin Glover is one of the best actors to do so because he made Ned a really odd and creepy dude. The worst of the group was Rebecca Da Costa as the hooker Rivka. Every moment she was on screen was a painful one. It felt like I was watching her struggle with not only speaking but also with remembering her lines. She just wasn't helping any part of this movie, she didn't make her character into one that would encourage Jack to help her and I really didn't want her to be helped. 
This story had a concept that could be really interesting, a bad guy wants another bad guy to get some mystery bag but then everyone wants the bag but why do they? There's supposed to be the intrigue as to what's in the bag, the mystery about how so many people know about it. Did Dragna set up Jack? Did someone else set up both Dragna and Jack? What's the deal with the motel manager? But having a good concept and being able to execute that concept did not happen in this movie. What they have for a story should have been an hour long, at most an hour and 20 minutes, but this is an hour and 48 minutes long. Because of the long running time the story drags by too slow. They try to make it exciting by having all the different twists and characters appearing but all it does is drag. I was ready for it to end and I was only 40 minutes into it. The one saving grace this movie has is that it's all set during the one night in the motel and surrounding areas. I like movies, well when they can pull it off, that have one location being used while having a lot of developments happening. The Bag Man really tries to do this and it somewhat succeeds but it's not that great so it only helps out because I like this style of storytelling.
Not only was this not an exciting movie but it wasn't one that looks good either. Because it's set at night every scene is in the dark or in a low lit room. Maybe if I had a television set that's not 5 years old or one of the new smart LED sets, then maybe the movie would have looked better but on my old LCD it was always dark. Some scenes where hard to see, some I didn't really make out at all, and the ones that I was able to see it wasn't impressive. Though I can say with all that darkness, the blacks, the grays, the no light, there's very little grain or noise to the picture. I can't say much about the colors because I was mostly looking at blacks, but when there are some colors they are bright and vivid, but then again considering the lack of light anything would be bright when it has some light put on it. Best quality for this Blu Ray, the audio. Since I wasn't able to see as clearly as I would have liked, it was nice being able to hear everything that was being said.
Lee Roberts
Review by Lee Roberts
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