Written by / 12/12/2015 / No comments / , , , ,

TWO HARDY SQUARED IN LEGEND

year: 2015 cast: Tom Hardy, Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Chazz Palminteri
In THE GODFATHER PART II, Al Pacino's Michael Corleone winds up doing something that would haunt him forever. Forget what we learn in PART III... It all occurs just by his soulless expression during the second film's conclusion: as leaves tumble through the grass while he's sitting for what looks like a mentally torturous eternity after making a decision that's even low for a cutthroat mobster. Meanwhile, in LEGEND, Tom Hardy's Reggie Kray should have had this done from the very beginning... Or at least, halfway through... It would have saved everybody, including the audience. 

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For an eclectic talent like Hardy, a dual role should be a dream come true. And there are entertaining elements, which play out a whole lot like GOODFELLAS, including an array of 60's and 70's music (even a groovy tune borrowed from JACKIE BROWN borrowed from COFFY), but, with the importance of how the climbers climb the rung of mob power in London's East End stowed in the peripheral background, we mainly center on the opposing personalities of brother Ronnie, a psychotic, blunt homosexual who screws up every and any good deal that brother Reggie has to make their crime family grow into... or rather, what it actually grew into that we hardly experience other than much-too-easily landed deals (all involving contrived blackmail) or quick conversations that become bombastic arguments either between the siblings, or Reggie and his gorgeous fiance, Frances, played by the narrating Emily Browning, who, despite a worthy performance, turns this would-be thriller into a bland romantic melodrama: And what's most important in any crime film, mafia or otherwise, is the impending threat throughout, providing suspense on who will "get it" next. Yet these guys, both in their own way, are so hopped-up and ready to bang heads, the eventual "whacks" are as expected as screaming during the high-point of a rollercoaster ride, which LEGEND is, successfully, at times...

But mostly it feels like waiting in an overlong line for what should be a much more worthy, fleshed-out, engrossing and overall urgent vehicle involving Tom Hardy, squared. And for the mere sake of performance; the mellow, more business-minded Reggie isn't only far less hammy and borderline ridiculous (like Ronnie), but, if this weren't based on truth, he would have made a great fictional mobster with a lot more to offer. In this case, not only is one head better than two, but history gets in the way.

RATING: **1/2
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