“Fast Charlie” is a fun “Dirty Harry” meets “James Bond” kind of film. It is implausibility incarnate doused with a little wry humor and a quick-thinking, gun-slinging suave, nicely dressed, handsome guy. It all matches up except that Charlie Swift (Pierce Brosnan) is on the other side of the fence. He’s been working all his life as a hit man. This time, the gang he’s slinging for has gotten in trouble, not with the law (where are they, by the way?), but another gang,
Charlie is old, maybe about 70. His best friend and mentor, Stan Mullins (James Caan in his final role), doesn’t seem to fit in the story, but there is a lot of that in this film. In his spare moments, Charlie gazes on photos on his cell phone of villas out in the Italian countryside. But in reality, he is in Biloxi, Mississippi with a southern accent and a job to do. Blade (played to comic perfection by Brennan Keel Cook) is his new partner who refers to Charlie as the old guy who’s going to see some new tricks.
At once gross and horrible, as well as crazy and almost comedic, Blade goes to the target’s home and delivers free donuts with a little bomb in each (unbeknownst to Charlie or the victim). He returns excitedly to Charlie’s car to wait for the upcoming explosion. Then Charlie explains that they have to deliver the body for identification to pick up the money. How can they do that when the guy’s face is blown off?
Strangely, Blade turns on Charlie, steals his stolen car, and peals off down the road where there is a second bizarre event in what becomes a string of new ways to kill a villain and entertain an audience.
Full of betrayals, low-life criminals, grizzly deaths and corpse-eating alligators, “Fast Charlie” remains irresistibly emotionally low-key and charismatically matter-of-fact. It looks like the gang he was working for is being eliminated and it seems he may be next. So, when he becomes intrigued by the donut victim’s rather self-sufficient, taxidermist beautiful widow, the audience is thinking only one thing: Now is the time to escape to your dream home in Italy!
The director of “Fast Charlie,” Phillip Noyce, is an experienced expert with the thriller genre, having directed “Patriot Games” (1992) and “Clear and Present Danger” (1994) starring Harrison Ford, and “The Bone Collector” (1999), starring Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. “Fast Charlie” should prove to be as fun and entertaining.
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writers: Richard Wenk and Victor Gischler
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Morena Baccarin, James Caan, Brennan Keel Cook
Release: Dec. 8, 2023
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