Harsh Times (2005)

DIr. David Ayer, 116 min., Netfilx Instant

I’m not sure what I was expecting out of this film, but it wasn’t fanboy, wannabe, south-central LA gansta fiction.

Wow, that seems harsh, like the times I suppose. Two vets (I think–is Freddy Rodriguez’s character a vet?) are pretending to look for jobs but really drinking and getting high all day. In their spare time, they jack the local gangbangers for their cash and guns, then hustle hard around town trying to score cash and look impressive around their various lady friends.

The dialogue sounds like it was written by a team-up of Adam Sandler and Adam Carolla instead of David Ayer. The worst lines from Training Day all congregate in this film, and I think I heard a Chris Rock line from a comedy video about going to prison used as a serious line in the film (I won’t repeat it here).

Between crushing forties and smoking joints, these guys run up real problems, but things become unhinged when Davis’ (Christian Bale) girlfriend in Mexico reveals she’s pregnant right before he’s due to ship out as a NARC in Columbia. He flips out, pointing a gun at her and drinking his way through a drug mule run across the border. I won’t ruin the most exciting span of the film, since it takes only fifteen minutes to play out. The conclusion is exciting, but the emotional payoff is ultimately void due to the poor writing and subpar line delivery of the dyad charged with moving the plot forward.