Fast Charlie, the adaptation of Victor Gischler’s Gun Monkeys, is a fast-paced tale of Southern gangsters that leaves a trail of blood in its wake. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this gritty film manages to weave a credible May-December romance amidst the relentless chaos. With an impressive body count and a touch of sweetness, Fast Charlie delivers an entertaining experience for genre fans, although it may be best enjoyed from the comfort of home.
In the heart of Louisiana’s bayou country, Charlie Swift (played by Pierce Brosnan) finds himself struggling to earn the respect he deserves. As a seasoned gangster with a keen sense of survival, Charlie stands tall amongst a sea of young, arrogant punks. However, his dreams of retirement in Italy seem elusive as he becomes entangled in a web of crime and revenge.
Richard Wenk’s screenplay takes the audience on an unpredictable journey filled with unlikely events and extreme circumstances. At first glance, the plot may seem preposterous, but it is this element of unpredictability that either draws viewers in or pushes them away. Director Phillip Noyce injects the film with energy and silliness, pushing the boundaries and inviting audiences to embrace the absurdity.
Fast Charlie is not shy when it comes to violence. Countless murders are committed throughout the film, often leaving audiences puzzled as to the motives behind them. It becomes evident that the creative energy of the filmmakers was channeled into coming up with inventive and sometimes grotesque murder scenes, aiming to both shock and amuse viewers. The level of intricacy invested in these macabre moments is nothing short of impressive.
Despite Charlie’s desires to retire, his involvement in cases, crises, and emergencies continuously disrupts his plans. The situation becomes further complicated when he forms a connection with the bereaved widow, Marcie (played by Morena Baccarin). The age difference between Charlie and Marcie presents an intriguing dilemma that the filmmakers handle delicately. The unlikely bond between these two characters, wounded but resilient, adds depth to the story and challenges traditional notions of love and companionship.
Pierce Brosnan and Morena Baccarin deliver strong performances, breathing life into their complex characters. Both actors skillfully navigate the treacherous landscape of violence, portraying their hopes, desires, and uncertainties with palpable emotion. Despite the inherently far-fetched nature of their situation, Brosnan and Baccarin successfully convey a sense of authenticity and vulnerability that captivates the audience.
Fast Charlie is a Rasty and nasty film with a cherry on top. It embraces its gritty Southern gangster roots while surprising viewers with a bittersweet twist. The film’s high body count and dark humor may not be for everyone, but for genre fans, it offers a thrilling and entertaining experience. James Caan’s final film may find a more receptive audience at home rather than in theaters, where viewers can fully immerse themselves in the chaotic world of Fast Charlie. With its gripping storyline, inventive murder scenes, and standout performances, this film is a must-watch for those seeking a unique and edgy take on the gangster genre.