Oliver Stone is in ‘Natural Born Killers’ mode with ‘Savages’

Chon (Taylor Kitsch, left) and his closest friend, Ben (Aaron Johnson), plot to retrieve kidnapped girlfriend Ophelia (Blake Lively) in “Savages.”

Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch are Ben and Chon, entrepreneurs, drug dealers and two thirds of a love triangle with California cutie Ophelia (Blake Lively). They sell a potent strain of legal medical-grade marijuana but also siphon off some for illicit practice and profit, which earns the attention of a Mexican Baja drug cartel run by Elena (Salma Hayek). She’ll do anything to create a “joint” venture, including kidnapping the guys’ shared paramour, Ophelia. Revenge turns bloody when Elena’s enforcer, Lado (Benicio Del Toro), gets involved and complicated when a dirty DEA agent (John Travolta) double-crosses everyone.

Guns, drugs, threesomes; sounds like hanging out with Sam Kinison in the ’80s. Actually, this is Stone’s best picture since Reagan was president. He’s working viscerally here and you can feel everything: the coastal languors of Laguna Beach, the scuzziness of Mexican border towns, Blake Lively’s silken suntan. For a violent popcorn movie, it’s pretty sensual. Johnson and Kitsch are good and evil, flip sides of the same coin, while Lively isn’t as sprightly as her name might suggest — but she does do damaged quite well.

If you go
  
“Savages”
Director: Oliver Stone
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively
Rating: R 
Grade: 4/5


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