The Matador was designed to be a comedic thriller with likeable characters and a swift plot, a la Bandits or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. As it turns out, it is a comedic thriller with likeable characters, but it falls a bit short in the “swift plot” department.
The film was written and directed by Richard Shepard (I’ve never heard of him either), which I always think is a feat worthy of praise no matter how the product turns out. Danny (Greg Kinnear) is a business man with a bad string of luck on a do-or-die company trip to Mexico City. Julian (Pierce Brosnan) is a different kind of business man whose work has brought him to the same destination for an assassination.
Their relationship is the fuel that propels the movie, but never burns particularly hot. Brosnan is amusing as a mentally weak hit man and Kinnear plays the innocent would-be family man very well, yet they never create the on screen magic that a film like this needs to be great. The directing is good, as is the acting, and there is even some cinematography that is worth talking about. However, the storyline hits a bit of a runaway truck ramp about an hour into the film, and never fully recovers.
I found the first 60 minutes to be quite entertaining, but as the film came to a close it felt as though I had just seen the preview. There were no holes in the plot, I just wanted to see what happened to the characters next; not credits. In short, it’s the non-fat version of the movie I wanted to see. It tasted good, but it left me hungry.
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