Bad Country (NR)

Action/Adventure 95 min. April 11, 2014
By Ernest Hardy
Inspired by a true story, Bad Country, written by Jonathan Hirschbein and directed by Chris Brinker, is a well-oiled police drama in which badass, rule-breaking cop Bud Carter (Willem Dafoe) joins forces with Nazi-tattoo-wearing, low-level crime legend Jesse Weiland (Matt Dillon) to bring down Weiland's mastermind boss (Tom Berenger) in the sweltering backwaters of 1983 Louisiana. Despite the shakiness of their collective accents, the cast goes through the paces of this tense, testosterone-driven shoot-'em-up with gusto. (Amy Smart, as Weiland's wife, is one of the few estrogen reps with a speaking part.) After his daft younger brother's screw-up results in Jesse's arrest, Jesse is recruited to turn informant on his boss. Then the film's tension levels go into overdrive, resulting in loads of gunfire — especially after Jesse's cover is blown.

For all the bang-bang, bloodshed and macho posturing, though, two minor elements linger as the closing credits roll: The filmmakers have to stress the casual racism of the bad guys to demonstrate that their propensity for violence and mayhem is worse than the cops', and in the battle of the '70s gay porn mustaches, Dillon easily trounces Dafoe.
Chris Brinker Tom Berenger, John Braymer, Patrick Brinker, Erika Bruun-Andersen, Kevin Chapman, Don 'Bud' Connor, Garth Currie, Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, Amy Smart Jonathan Hirschbein, Tom Abernathy, Mike Barnett, Don 'Bud' Connor

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