The Bag Man Blu-ray Review
Jack sits in a private jet while his boss eats an expensive meal. He has an assignment. His boss, Dragna (Robert De Niro), tells Jack (John Cusack) that he needs to deliver a certain bag containing certain contents to him. When it’s in his boss’ hands, he gets the money. What’s inside the bag? When Jack asks just that, he’s shot down: “You do not look in this bag. You do not open this bag. You do not even take a little peek in this bag. The contents of this bag are off limits.” Clearly this is not a job for FedEx.
Things go wrong quickly—namely, bullets get fired his way—and Jack is forced to hole up in a scuzzy hotel that seems to have missed a few payments on the electric bill. He takes room number 13, because that’s what his boss tells him to do. And then he waits, because that’s what his boss tells him to do.
It’s here that he encounters a greasy, leather-gloved proprietor named Ned Ned (Crispin Glover, lending his signature weirdness to the role), a blue-haired stripper named Rivka (Brazilian actress Rebecca Da Costa, BREAKING AT THE EDGE), a midget (Martin Klebba, who made his debut in PLANET OF THE APES as Monkey Grinder’s Pet) and a one-eyed drug dealer (rapper Sticky Fingaz). (As far as his boss goes—well, De Niro probably didn’t get paid enough to appear in too many scenes.)
There are also a lot of hired guns, who Jack is quick enough to fend off with a gun of his own. For no apparent reason, the stripper becomes his sidekick and she too gets mixed up in the danger, because that’s what the filmmakers figure would hold the viewer’s attention for the duration.
THE BAG MAN is a strange little movie. But the strangeness is far from organic and it’s only so out there because that’s apparently what director David Grovic thinks would make his debut stand out. Is there a point in the one character being a midget or the dealer having an eye patch other than to make them some form of faux-quirky? No, but there they are, and the viewer will be talking more about them than the plot, the suspense or what’s inside the bag. (The movie makes a big deal out of “the bag.” It’s in the title, in the taglines—“One simple job: deliver a bag,” “The cat’s in the bag”—and the whole reason Jack is in hiding. But the problem is that the audience doesn’t particularly care.)
These traits only serve to show just how weak the script (by Grovic and Paul Conway). Another cover-up is the cast—but who can buy John Cusack verbally muscling Robert De Niro?
THE BAG MAN has no suspense and no clever scenarios. And believe it or not, it’s going to take a whole lot more than Crispin Glover in a wheelchair and a midget taking a leak on John Cusack’s head to make this noir knockoff worth the time.
THE BAG MAN BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The video quality is quite good, with notably strong black levels, which are found throughout the movie in both interiors and exteriors.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Subtitles in English, Spanish and French. The audio is clear throughout and the sound effects (gunfire and various thumps) come through with no detectable flaws.
Behind the Scenes of THE BAG MAN (29:49): This featurette uses clips, production footage and interviews (with John Cusack, Robert De Niro and more) to give an overview of the movie.