Film Review: ‘Assault on Wall Street’

'Assault on Wall Street' Movie Review

Like 'Margin Call' with grenades.

The financial crisis left countless Americans economically devalued and emotionally demoralized, but only one was desperate enough to pick up an assault rifle and strike back. Dominic Purcell plays that guy — a fictitious avatar for the country’s collective outrage — in Uwe Boll’s “Assault on Wall Street,” an ugly, unusually audience-pandering thriller from the prickly German director behind such mass-killing sprees as “Postal” and “Rampage,” this one playing like “Margin Call” with grenades. After half a dozen botched vidgame adaptations, this risible mad-as-hell subgenre could be Boll’s forte. Opening in one theater and on-demand, the low-budget effort will go virtually unnoticed.

Whereas most auteurs view filmmaking as an art form, Boll treats it more like a form of anger management, working out his aggression one schlock opera at a time. Now that audiences have grown bored of his brand of incompetence (online, he’s known as the worst living director), Boll has no choice but to rethink his strategy. Shot in Vancouver, “Assault on Wall Street” — whose original title, “Bailout: The Age of Greed,” risked appearing slightly lower in VOD listings — marks an incremental step toward giving audiences what they want: if not coherent narrative, then a chance to vicariously mete out retribution on the white-collar criminals responsible for crippling the country’s economy. And yet, the film seems inexplicably tame, the least interesting execution of a radical concept.

Best known for his above-the-law role in “Prison Break,” Purcell plays Jim, an ox-like armored-truck guard — all glassy eyes, vacant expressions and Stallone-style line readings. While Jim protects other people’s money for a living, Wall Street fat cats pillage his own life savings via shady investment scams. Despite a flurry of news bites designed to agitate Occupy Wall Street types about a massive rich-get-richer conspiracy, the pic pins all of Jim’s woes on a single CEO (John Heard). Sitting in a near-empty office, the corrupt exec orders a roomful of traders to unload the company’s bogus real-estate fund, making Jim’s investment worse than worthless: It puts him $60,000 in the red.

The timing is beyond unfortunate, with Jim’s wife (Erin Karpluk) undergoing brain-tumor treatment and the insurance company capping their coverage. In a more traditional genre pic, the obvious course would be to have this inside man rob his employers or to follow the case from the cops’ p.o.v. (as it happens, Jim’s best friends are cops, played by Keith David and Michael Pare). But Boll’s empathies lie elsewhere, asking audiences to side with the terrorist — ironic, considering all the money the helmer has lost his investors over the years.

Credited with the script as well, Boll frontloads the film with conflict and then spends its second half giving auds their extended revenge fantasy. This doesn’t qualify as an effective dramatic strategy, however, since the first hour proves a melodramatic slog (full of downbeat meetings with lawyers, bankers and doctors), after which nothing stands in Jim’s way. Again, solutions exist to make this approach work, such as opening with the character in custody and flashing back to discover what happened, but Boll ignores them.

Instead, “Assault” plays like visually bland vigilante porn, which Boll and editor Thomas Sabinsky manage to render confusing via scrambled montages of Jim researching his prey (he laughably infiltrates the boiler-room environment posing as a daytime janitor), holding target practice in public and executing attacks on seemingly random suits. The only way this equation works is if audiences are themselves so upset that they buy into Jim’s behavior.

Film Review: 'Assault on Wall Street'

Reviewed online, Los Angeles, May 9, 2013. Running time: 99 MIN.

Production

(Canada) A Phase 4 Films release of an Event Film presentation of a Lynn Peak production in association with Studio West Prods. Produced by Daniel Clarke. Executive producers, Dale A. Andrews, Uwe Boll, Shawn Williamson. 

Crew

Directed, written by Uwe Boll. Camera (color), Mathias Neumann; editor, Thomas Sabinsky; music, Jessica de Rooij; production designer, Geoff Wallace; art director, Tara Arnett; set decorator, Terry Joseph; costume design, Katrina McCarthy; sound, Mark Noda; sound designer, James Fonnyadt; supervising sound editor, Kirby Jinnah; re-recording mixers, Iain Pattison, Graeme Hughes, Chris Grilling; visual effects supervisor, Mohammad Bilal; visual effects producer, Asif Iqbal; visual effects, ICE Animations; special effects coordinator, Jak Osmond; stunt coordinator, Doug Chapman; associate producer, Jonathan Shore; assistant director, Shameless Shute; casting, Maureen Webb.

With

Dominic Purcell, Erin Karpluk, John Heard, Edward Furlong, Keith David, Michael Pare, Clint Howard, Eric Roberts.

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  1. I loved it and wish it was true, hope someone has the guts to make it happen, one great idea

  2. Harvey Weinstein says:

    Debruge is just a lame sourpuss who cries about a simple revenge movie that he’d like to have as arthouse. Well it’s not. Oh and as to “siding with the terrorist” it is the critic who sides with the financial terrorists. Get lost, make a movie – oh that’s right you CAN’T! Haha. Dude it’s just entertainment. Take a chill pill and lay back down.

  3. TexasSinkholeFan226 says:

    Also just have to say that “In the name of the King” is a very underrated movie.

  4. TexasSinkholeFan226 says:

    Well I think “Assault” the best porno movie I’ve ever seen. Yeah the film isn’t perfect, but the idea sure is. My wife and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Look, you’re either angry about these criminals running around making dough, or you’re blind. There are a lot of people who will appreciate this movie. This will be a cult classic, and Uwe Boll has saved himself.

  5. Uwe Boll says:

    and ,,,,,the massacre is 3 min. long ….the drama part 90 min.

  6. Uwe Boll says:

    here is uwe boll…… its so funny to read over all this years the unqualified reviews of loosers. i made the only movie for the 7 mill. americans who lost their houses. period.
    its a movie about accountability,

  7. JoeBuckstrap says:

    Blankfein will probably double his Praetorian Guard after this. Hey, when the U.S. Attorney General (who formerly defended the Wall St. banks from government regulators) says that the Wall St. malefactors are “too big to prosecute”, it means the US Government is putting its imprimatur on the notion that the banksters are above the law. The $ trillions they looted from investors and the $ trillions they’ve looted from the taxpayers and the US Treasury, plus the fact that they’ve infiltrated the highest levels of government and have Congress by the balls, has all gone unanswered and unexamined by law enforcement and the corporate-controlled media. The public, millions of whom have been ruined by these banks, know this. The government, for its part continues to extend its vicelike grip on citizens lives – now routinely monitoring all of their electronic communications. Both political parties vie for who can sell out the American people more to Wall St. There have been no meaningful reforms and once again, the banks are over-leveraged.

    Along comes this movie and guess what? YOU can’t see it because no theater will play it. What else would you expect in the Age of Wall St. Greed?

  8. Gordon Wagner says:

    Instructional manual? When is the Goldman Sachs board meeting, anyway?

  9. The film seems nice… would luv to see it

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