It’s time for a retro film. It feels like it’s been a while since I reviewed an oldie, but I suppose it hasn’t been all that long. This film’s a fun take on the whole mind switch concept and you can think of it as being similar to Frankenstein. It’s done a whole lot better than Frankenstein ever was though and the characters are actually pretty likable and endearing except for one guy who goes off the deep end.
The plot involves Ernest, a scientist. He is a genius whose only real friend dies in a car crash one day. To save his life, Ernest decides to do an experimental brain transplant. It’s a success, but the problem is that George (The friend) now has a split personality. He’ll be George one minute and then he’ll be Red Cannon, the gangster. Ernest could help George’s personality pull through, but he really wants to be rich and everyone knows that Red Cannon buried 500 million dollars somewhere in the city. Ernest will have that money and then he’ll save George. Can he really have his cake and eat it too or is something sinister about to happen?
As you can expect, Ernest is the character that I don’t care for. At first, his motives were good. He went pretty far to save his friend and his gamble paid off. Unfortunately, his desire for fame and glory corroded him. It was even a bit cheesy at one point as Red Cannon was afraid of Ernest. I find that hard to believe since he was such a hardened gangster. Ernest doesn’t get away with it which is good, but he put everyone in a sticky situation. He’s certainly not a team player.
On the other hand, George is a solid character. He constantly reminds everyone that he is a Professor of English Literature and that’s why he has a hard time dealing with all of the gangster drama. He’s a very polite guy who simply made the mistake of trusting his old friend. Even when a side effect of the serum caused George to be a little cranky, he was always ready to apologize for it. George is a real stand up guy and that’s why I’m glad that he got a good ending. He didn’t ask for any of this and did the best that he could to see to it that everything went all right. He even gave the Cab driver a huge tip, which was pretty neat.
Red Cannon was an okay gangster, but as I mentioned earlier, he did get scared by Ernest. I’m not really sure how I can take him seriously after that. He did a good job of beating up most of the guys who had betrayed him though. Messing with the boss is definitely not a good move. I mean, he was dead so they won…….lets ignore that for now. The gangsters were fairly confident and since they had Red Cannon’s girlfriend on their side, how could they lose? She actually did trick Red Cannon a few times though so he’s got a ways to go when it comes to running a gang biz. That’s why you’re not supposed to mix work and romance, it makes things risky. I did have to chuckle at the fact that the gangsters were forced to hide in a closet as a last resort. That normally shouldn’t buy you a whole lot of time. Leaving the secret beer cabinet open as well is another critical mistake.
The unsung hero here has to be the cab driver. He’s the kind of guy who wasn’t going to let Red Cannon walk all over him. I like how he calmly walked up to the cops and saw to it that justice was served. Red Cannon was gone by then of course, but it’s the thought that counts. The students were also pretty nice as they helped George out and even when he randomly shape shifted, they took it in stride. They were certainly pretty accepting of the whole thing, despite how strange it all was.
Aside from that, the rest of the film was also pretty realistic. Even the energy drain since George should definitely be tired from living two lives. That’s a lot of exercise for a rather old fellow. The writing was very good from start to finish as well. It had that dignified feel that you really can’t find in a more modern adventure. Not to mention that it’s what helped make George a good character. Bad writing would have made him cheesy or just fake while he felt like a real likable fellow this time.
The fight scenes were also solid. They did a good job of showing why Red Cannon was so feared throughout the land while not going overboard and making the minions look weak. After all, they did keep the gang running well after his death so they had to be at least a little competent right? The film is rather short so the pacing stays quick throughout the adventure. The only slow parts is when Ernest is trying to turn George back into Red Cannon by taking him around town, but it’s more screen time for George so that is always a good thing.
Overall, Black Friday is a film that I can recommend wholeheartedly. All of the characters are either likable or written well as villains. The fight scenes are good and the plot is engaging. Even the secondary characters like the Bellhop are fun to have around. It shows why you should always be skeptical when you’re given a life saving medicine or start to feel tired for no reason. On the other hand, it reminds you that you can always suppress any foreign minds that try to inhabit your body. You may not become a shape shifter, but that’s fine. The film blends together a nice mix of humor and seriousness. There’s really nothing negative to say about the film and the only thing keeping it from being an 8 is just not having enough content to quite get up that high. It’s a solid all around film otherwise.