The Violent Zone, 2002.
Directed by Victor Nunez.
Starring Timothy Olyphant, Josh Brolin, Sarah Winter, William Forsythe and Josh Lucas.
A sheriff forms an unlikely alliance with an ex-con to bring down a local gang.
Before Josh Brolin made No Country for Old Men, American Gangster, and W. and before Timothy Olyphant made Die Hard 4.0 and Justified they starred together in this predictable and lifeless made for TV film. Well, everyone has to start somewhere.
The film is also known as Coastlines which, although utterly redundant as well, is far better and less misleading then the rather exciting sounding The Violent Zone. The film tells the story of Sonny (Olyphant) who is released from jail early having done time for dope smuggling and his interactions with his best friend Dave (Brolin) who just happens to be... you’ve guessed it, an officer of the law. This is one of several tried and tested clichés which unfolds as the clunky story develops. Others include Sonny having an affair with Dave’s wife, Dave then having a one-nighter with some bimbo, and a small-town kingpin (a cartoonishly leering William Forsythe) who wants out ‘hero’ dead, because, as is so often the case, money is owed.
The film feels like a first draft of the screenplay – scenes and dialogue borrowed from many other films and totally lacking in originality. It’s never exciting or thrilling enough to get you hooked nor is the romance believable to make you think lives and relationships are at stake. Sonny sleeps with Dave’s wife and five minutes after finding out he’s banged some stranger and then reconciled with his wife and Sonny too. Utter nonsense for a film which is supposed to take its characters seriously.
The sole reason to watch this would be for any die-hard fans of Brolin and Olyphant to see what they were like before they hit the big time. To be fair both are fine in the roles and you can see why they made the leap from this material to what they are making now. Aside from that, The Violent Zone offers the viewer precious little else but remains a watchable if unengaging 100 minutes.
Rohan Morbey - follow me on Twitter.