Set Up (Blu-ray)
When Biggs (Bruce Willis) first appears on screen in SET UP, he stares into the eyes of Sonny (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) and asks the question “are you retarded, are you mentally handicapped”? He’s referring to a mindless action that Sonny had just committed against his crime organization, but I thought it was a very poignant and appropriate question to ask 50 Cent because, coincidentally, I have been asking Fitty that question for the last few years. Is 50 Cent mentally handicapped? Is there a physical deformity that prevents him from closing his mouth? Is there a reason every line of dialogue uttered from his mouth sounds like a kindergartener reciting a passage from a nuclear physics textbook? Maybe getting embarrassed by Kanye West on a routine basis has finally driven Curtis Jackson to losing his mind. I really can’t come up with any other explanation for his movies.
This go around, Fiddy teams up with Vincent (Ryan Phillippe) and Dave (Brent Granstaff) to rob a jeweler. But just when the Cent thinks he’s gotten away with it, Vincent decides to shoot him and Dave and take off with the money himself. But as we learned in GET RICH OR DIE TRYING, you just can’t kill 50 and so he wakes up and sets off on a course to get revenge on Vincent. So far, it’s pretty simple. That’s not to say it would have been enjoyable just sticking to that plotline, but at least it’s a straightforward…ahem…set up. But as he-who-can’t-speak-right goes looking for revenge, he ends up stepping on the toes of the most evil gangster of all time, Biggs. Bruce Willis is a good sport here and judging by the locations and wardrobe of Mr. Willis, I can assume this took about a day and a half for him to shoot. But when Biggs and Sonny “team up”, things get awkward. All of a sudden, there’s a hitman after Sonny, there’s a plot twist with Vincent’s imprisoned father, then the driver of the hijacked car gets involved, and nothing seems to make much sense.
And that’s probably a dagger to the heart of Fiddy and director Mike Gunther. It was clear they really, really wanted this to be a legitimate heist/revenge thriller. But it clearly is not. It’s a B-movie with traditionally A-list stars. I just hope that Phillippe and Willis received a handsome paycheck for this because neither of them should be seen in a straight to DVD movie. Phillippe has had his share of duds, but he’s a talented actor that is better than characters like Vincent. He gave it a decent effort, but him trying to talk thug and act tough is as awkward as watching a contemporary dancer try to dance hip hop on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. As for Willis…sigh. I’ll give him a pass because he’s Bruce Willis, but this was rough. Bruce is famous for trading roles (he’ll do a bad role to get financing to do something he wants), so I’m hoping that’s what happened here.
Obviously, there’s no reason this should be viewed by anyone. Those looking for gratuitous violence or a fast paced thriller will be severely disappointed. I would stop short of saying it’s painful to get through, but let’s just say you’ll want to follow this up with something that doesn’t make you miserable.
Commentary with Mike Gunther and Kyle Woods: My biggest pet peeve with commentaries is when the people doing them don’t have anything to say. Such is the case with this commentary, while although they give some interesting tidbits here and there, there’s too many long pauses to keep you interested.
Making Set Up (9:14): This is basically just a fluff piece to get you excited to see the film.
Inside the Gun Locker: The Weapons of Set Up (3:36): The prop guy takes us on a tour of the film. I didn’t really feel there were enough guns used in the movie to merit their own featurette.
Interviews with Cast and Crew (24:33): Mike Gunther, 50 Cent and Randy Couture show up to speak generically about the film.
There is also a Trailer