starring Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis, Malin Akerman, Nikki Reed,
Deborah Ann Woll and Shea Whingham
written and directed by Aaron Harvey
Three women work for a mysterious drug boss, Mel (Bruce Willis). They have a mission to intercept a truck driver bringing drugs into a diner one night. While waiting for their mark a gun fight breaks out. The story unfolds in a series of flashbacks and we eventually learn that the diner job is a set-up by Mel to get rid of the three girls after they botched an earlier job. It`s incredibly violent, and really rather sexy to see such tough, gun-wielding young broads.
I usually steer clear of any film with Forest Whitaker in it because I think he is a consummately bad actor. Admittedly, he did do well in The Last King of Scotland (2006) and properly deserved an academy award. And Catch.44 is another superb performance. Whitaker plays Ronny, a deranged but very polite hit man also working for Mel on special assignment.
The double meaning of the title `Catch.44` is lost on Japanese. First, it refers to the large caliber of some particularly nasty handguns. But the veiled imitation of the `Catch 22` title refers to the Mexican standoff that occurs among three survivors of the diner shoot-out. In English the title of the Joseph Heller book (published in 1961) has entered the lexicon as an expression to describe an impossible conundrum, which is what a Mexican standoff is: three people pointing guns at each other, one threatening to kill the other. If one fires, then the others will as well. So what … ?
Bruce Willis`s character, Mel, is similar to David Carradine`s Bill in Kill Bill (parts 1 and 2, 2003 and 2004, directed by Quentin Tarantino). Really freakingly weird and only appearing a little on screen. Mostly Mel and Bill are ominous off screen presences.