The Last Days of American Crime
Credit: Netflix

The Last Days of American Crime: Netflix Movie Review

Make room for ‘The Room’ of all action movies

I like Rick Remender. His gritty and unforgiving approach holds a degree of rebellious, devil-may-care, youthful adolescence. I liked him so much that I reviewed and recapped every episode of Deadly Class — his comic-turned-TV-show.

When I’d heard Netflix was adapting his The Last Days of American Crime graphic novel, I thought to myself: finally, we can see Rick’s work unhinged and uncensored. And though it will not have the backing of the MCU heavyweights the Russo Brothers (Anthony and Joe) in this go around… I’d like to see where it can go…

And the answer was absolutely nowhere for over an hour.

And I say this, as someone who looks on the bright side of things. I’m a writer that finds redemption in almost every work of art because I know, being a floppingly desperate screenwriter myself, just how hard it is to get things made. But it is unbelievably difficult to take pride in anything in The Last Days of American Crime is trying to accomplish.

The movie is misogynistic, boring, tasteless, and, in my honest opinion: an outright waste of time. A D-rate attempt at filmmaking, whose plot about escalating police violence and a surveillance state, comes at a troubling time when society, on the whole, is experiencing that same exact police violence and surveillance state. Except minus black people (despite being shot in South Africa). Plus a whole lot of police violence. Coincidentally there is also choking out in this movie: but it’s mostly women.

There is a reason Netflix didn’t promote and buried this movie: it is beyond distasteful, with both poor timing and subject material. A masturbatory attempt at edginess without any sorts of context, save for shock value, which it fails at that. Still, I hope this movie makes you laugh. I hope you watch this movie – awful as it may be – with friends like a MST3K parody. Where you poke-fun-at and have at just how bad this movie is, and see for yourself, how it deserves all of its heckles.

That said, here are some reasons why this movie is downright awful.

 

It’s Misogynistic and Doesn’t Care

Directed by Oliver Megaton, a bad action director distastefully named off the Hiroshima bomb, — who’s brought you such disappointments as Transporter 3 and Taken 2 —  is someone, who doesn’t like sequels or action films. So… he directed, yet another action film. Why? I don’t know but I don’t believe that he cares.

Nor does the cast as almost no one looks enthused to be in It. Edgar Ramirez as Graham Bricke, carries the same stoic facial expression throughout the entirety of this film. Worst was actress Anna Brewster as Shelbee Dupree.

A staple to Rick Remender’s style, Shelbee is a tattooed femme fatale, much like Saya from Deadly Class. Yet, unlike Saya, Shelbee’s character seems to do little but provide arrhythmic dry humping with an always disappointed-looking Graham. And though it’s obvious actress Anna Brewster is trying her best, but, unfortunately, the script writes her character as little more than a fuckhole.

I know that sounds awful. But it’s true. And it’s appalling.

Shelbee is sleeping with the two other male leads, her only motivation is to use all means (including sex) to save her younger sister? I don’t fully know why, but we’re reminded of this, and her duplicit nature, several times throughout this movie. And when she’s not being fucked, both literally and metaphorically, she’s being threatened by police, fucked with a heroin needle, and almost raped.

Again, I iterate: the writing is tasteless and utter drivel simply for shock value.

 

It’s an Awful Premise

I think the original story might’ve held some merit, but, from the get-go, this movie makes no sense. Especially, with what is happening in America.

Its premise is that a button could effectively release a brain wave that will pacify the masses by short-circuiting neurons whenever it wants to do something illegal. Thus, removing the ability to decide. So, naturally, the goal of this movie seems to be: Steal Billions and flee to Canada.

Immediately, you can tell this doesn’t feel all that important. Especially, when given that the world is filled with crime lords, cops, and loopholes around this very system. Making the threat of this API/brain wave signal feel convenient… and stupid. Because most of the movie’s plot is threatening that the API is releasing for well-over an hour.

Also, if policing by mind control could happen, why bother having aggressive trigger happy cops? Why even warn the American people? Particularly, if you’re a totalitarian state?

The only real purpose of the API is to serve as a ticking time-bomb to bring us to the movie’s climax. But by that point, I don’t think anyone really cared. I know I didn’t.

 

Bad Plotlines

There are so many convoluted storylines and characters. A cop, played by District 9 actor Shalto Copley, seems like he wants to redeem himself yet doesn’t? That’s it. He has one boss fight towards the end with Shelbee. The end. I don’t really understand the point of his character and that’s not sloppy journalism… it’s literally the progression of his character.

Also, NOTHING HAPPENS for the first hour of this film. The guns aren’t fired, there are no chase scenes, and there’s no action… IN AN ACTION MOVIE. It’s just a copious amount of exposition over voice-over meant to fill dead air. Oh, that and overly-sexualized nudity —it’s mostly just very, very bad framing with painful-to-watch actors shaking their bodies, sometimes-clothed-sometimes-not, depending on the mistakable editing.

So terrible, I’d actually put it on the same quality of thrust motions of Tommy Wiseau’s belly humping in The Room.

BUT THE BEST OF ALL…

Is an impossibly bad sequence in this movie, where a mob boss’ son fights with his father about having sex with his stepmother, after, moments earlier, kissing his sister. Or as I call it:  “Jerry Springer: The Mobster White Privileged Edition”…. With a BEAUTIFUL low-SFX kill shot featuring a hilarious hatchet to the brain, in a pull-away double-take, you’d expect in a Horror-B movie shot in high school.

Oh, and, somehow, this movie is about fleeing away to Canada from the American government, despite being obviously shot and set in South Africa. We even have District’s 9’s protagonist and setting to prove it…

 

The Take

This is “The Room” of all action dramas. With bad writing, bad editing, bad acting, and a poor budget — The Last Days of American Crime is a travesty featuring a good amount of police brutality — a poorly-timed flop that’s best not to be taken seriously what-so-ever.

Still… today, it was ranked the 5th most-watched thing on Netflix. So hey, at least someone’s entertained.

About Christian Angeles

Christian Angeles is a screenwriter who likes sharing stories and getting to meet people. He also listens to words on the page via audible and tries to write in ways that make people feel things. All on a laptop. Sometimes from an app on his phone.

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