“With plenty action, plot twists and violence, The Bag Man should please most folk into this genre…”

First-time director, David Grovic’s The Bag Man, is a mixture of over-the-top action, unbelievable scenarios and some questionable dialogue, and I’m pretty sure most of the “critics” will slate this movie, but I appreciate The Bag Man for what it is; a film that’s highly entertaining and will keep an audience happy.

Starring John Cusack, whose hair gets messier with each film he appears in, played the part of Jack, the bag man/hitman, expectedly well, playing off co-star, the sultry Rebecca Da Costa, with apparent on-screen chemistry. Cusack appears to be getting plenty of work these days, thanks to a rise in popularity, with rumours of the star appearing in the final parts of The Hunger Games trilogy, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. Cusack shows no sign of slowing down with plenty of films already signed on to that stretch into 2015. His latest film Adult World was met with mixed reactions by the critics, as are the majority of his films, but I’ve certainly enjoyed most of them.

The Bag Man
Directed by
David Grovic
Robert De Niro, John Cusack, Dominic Purcell, Rebecca Da Costa
Release Date
28 February 2014
Nav’s Grade: C+

We also have one of the finest actors who ever lived, Robert De Niro, playing Dragna, Jack’s boss, who sends him out on a supposedly simple job, to collect a bag from Dragna’s associate, with specific orders not to look inside. Jack has ironclad principles and never breaks his word once given which is part of the reason Dragna likes him. De Niro dons a fanciful wig which was undoubtedly his call, as De Niro is famed for his attention to detail when sorting out the “look” for his characters, or, it could simply be to balance out the effect of Cusack’s unkempt mop. De Niro appears to enjoy helping out first-time directors who have a very limited budget, with many examples already behind him, plus he simply likes making movies and has become less-fussy in his later years, which I think a rather admirable trait.

Providing eye-candy is the stunning Rebecca Da Costa, an actress who has appeared in eight films and a quick TV stint, since her career began in 2009. Her performance wasn’t too bad but it’s hard to look impressive against De Niro and Cusack, no matter how experienced you are, however, she held her own and looked amazing doing so. Crispin Glover, he of Fright Night fame, was his usual skewed, out there, self, and played the wheelchaired, oddball motel receptionist perfectly.

Fans of Glover will not be disappointed with his wacky performance which are the parts he excels at and is the type his fans fully expect. Everyone remembers his Charlie Brewster and George McFly, or more recently, Stayne, Knave of Hearts, from the brilliant Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Read a brand new Influx exclusive interview with Crispin Glover by clicking here. Dominic Purcell as the local sheriff was also going for over-the-top, as the sheriff had a hidden agenda, and enjoyed torturing his prisoners. In fact, the amount of violence is considerable in The Bag Man, with woman being treated badly, as witnessed during a scene where Dragna punches his wife several times in the face until she’s disfigured.

The film begins on Dragna’s private jet with Jack being told by Dragna about the easy job he must carry out; pick up the bag and don’t look inside, then go to a motel, ask for room 13 and wait for Dragna to get in touch. Things go wrong at the pickup as the other guy tries to kill Jack but only manages to shoot him through the hand before Jack kills him. Jack takes the bag and the body to the motel, gets the room then waits. When Jack leaves the room to kill two fake cops in the next room, a beautiful woman sneaks in and hides in the bathroom. Jack had seen her a couple of times earlier, where she was fighting with two men who were ordering her back to their room.

When Jack tries to throw her out she tells him she knows about the bag, so now he decides to hold onto her and find out if she’s looked inside the bag. She denies opening it but now Jack doesn’t trust her. He also isn’t sure about Dragna because of the fake cops and doesn’t know if he’s connected to them. The body count starts to quickly rise with Jack at one point being arrested and tortured by the local sheriff and his men, leading to even more death.

Even though The Bag Man is far from faultless, with Grovic and the other co-writers overdoing the twists, which were admittedly quite clever, but almost too much. I really enjoyed myself as will most action-junkies. The “what’s in the bag” scenario isn’t exactly original, with Pulp Fiction coming quickly to mind, but it served its purpose well. With plenty action, plot twists and violence, The Bag Man should please most folk into this genre, and was the ideal way to spend one-hour and 48-minutes. This is a movie that I easily recommend.

Review by Nav Qateel