Okay, okay, it was easily 30 minutes too long. Maybe 40. And one more southern rock choice in the soundtrack, I was going to go home and invent a time machine, go back in time, and sneak a sackful of rabid weasels onto Skynyrd's plane so I'd know that during the entire crash, they were ALSO being tormented by the weasel bites.
But you know what? It's good. Way better than it has any right to be. Worth your money, if this is your kind of thing. Old school 1980's action done right, with a ton of good will and just head-bobbing goddam fun. Actual chemistry between all three leads. The plot certainly makes more sense than the last three Bond movies combined. There was a moment when I realized: "Holy shit. A guy movie. An actual guy movie."
Speaking of which, the first time the sneaky little 007-style brass flourish kicks in as Pitt pulls some cool action stunt, I chuckled out loud. And, unlike almost every American director working right now, Eisner knows how to choreograph an action sequence and track geography for maximum shoot-em-up effectiveness. This is a skill completely unappreciated by anyone except those of us who write big actions scenes, and we are in frikkin' despair. He also knows how to frame a decent punch-up (or is smart enough to have a great second-unit guy). He just needs a writer or producer who'll have the discipline to keep the pacing up within the existing structure.
Having done three films for the ancien regime at Paramount which produced this, I can smell exactly what happened. The Enemies of Fun at the studio did their best to make it "a better class of movie", because some of them are elitist snobs, and Eisner, bless him, managed to keep them from completely killing it. Then, having no idea what to do with it because it wasn't a pedantic thriller, they mis-marketed it. Do I know for sure what happened? No. Do I remember the meeting where they said The Core "should be more like Das Boot"? Oh yes. Oh fuck yes. (I'm looking forward to seeing what the shake-up brings.)
But I guarantee, even if this thing rolls over at the box-office: this is a flick you'll catch five minutes of on TBS a couple years from now, and an hour later you'll realize you got some chips and diet coke and you just blew out your afternoon.
Go with your dad or 12-year old nephew. Shit blows up. People fight. Some nice old-school chase sequences. Eat Twizzlers and grin like a bastard at the explodo.