Crime Story, 2021.
Written and Directed by Adam Lipsius.
Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Mira Sorvino, D.W. Moffett, Cress Williams, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Derek Russo, Haviland Stillwell, Andrea Frankle, Alejandra Rivera Flaviá, Tye Claybrook Jr., and Kevin Holloway-Harris.
When ex-mob boss Ben Myers is targeted in a home robbery, he goes on a deadly rampage of vengeance. But with his family caught in the crosshairs, Myers must finally face the consequences of his dark past.
I’m all for geriatric action stars. Sign me up for whatever ridiculous project Liam Neeson has coming up next, Jean-Claude Van Damme trying to do the same sounds good to me in theory, but somewhere along the way, the line is drawn at 73-year-old Richard Dreyfuss stealthing his way into a mechanic shop to get the jump on someone breaking their fingers in return for information. Not only is it a hilarious sight to behold, but also a brain-dead one considering just about anyone with a decently functioning body would be able to fight back. No one fights back against Richard Dreyfuss here.
The difference being is that the other actors mentioned and more appear the slightest bit in shape. Meanwhile, one of the first images in Crime Story (written and directed by Adam Lipsius) gives viewers a taste of the doomed ending to come, also narrated by a raspy and out-of-breath Richard Dreyfuss. Technically, there’s a reason for that, but even when the story flashes back to 12 hours ago (as I type this out, it sounds preposterous the story takes place within that timeframe), the beloved star sounds like he could fall asleep at any moment doing voiceover work. Worse and more unconvincing, he looks like someone barely able to throw a punch, let alone half of what this film has him doing without much resistance. It’s a sad sight and one more fitting for a character study, and absolutely not the themes gunned for here.
For a former crime boss reflecting on his past mistakes getting caught up in one last whirlwind conspiracy (made up of parts involving his family, an Illinois politician running for re-election, a mysterious Guatemalan mother and son he appears to have a history with, his wife suffering from dementia, and unknown individuals turning his home upside down and robbing it), he sounds bored by everything going on whether it’s narration embarrassingly constructed fight scenes that deeply strain credibility or moral dilemmas delivered with forced and wooden dialogue.
Anyway, the once to be feared mobster Ben Meyer is now seeking help from his estranged daughter Nicole (Mira Sorvino), who works on the opposite side of the law as a political campaign advisor. Ben’s love Nan is only getting worse with her dementia, whereas he also reveals to his daughter that he will soon die of leukemia. Desperately wanting assistance to help care for her, he takes out some of the savings he has amassed over the years (doing God only knows what, but we can only assume it wasn’t good) to practically throw at his daughter. Conveniently, she’s also looking for money as her sister Sherry (and Ben’s other daughter) is in the hospital with severe medical conditions of her own with no way to support her children.
Keep in mind; these many characters are deeply ill just for Crime Story‘s setup, a true sign of poor writing. Upon returning home from trying to work things out with his daughter, Ben notices that his place has been destroyed and looted, sending him into a fit of rage that sees him shooting bullets off into a wall near his wife. It’s reckless and stupid but also makes no sense. Nevertheless, Ben takes out a hidden camera and starts studying the surveillance footage to take matters into his own hands. As he tracks down those responsible for figuring out why, Ben also wrestles with his mortality and current status as a nobody, which also seems directly at odds with his ability to dispatch deadly people he comes across, sometimes accidentally. The family drama is always contrived and horribly delivered nonsense, and Richard Dreyfuss simply looks tired. This is one crime story not even worth telling.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com