Watching “Catch .44” I couldn’t help but make a list of things it riffs from Quentin Tarantino movies. That is not necessarily a bad thing since Tarantino notoriously steals from every movie he has ever seen. He gets away with it because he actually does something creative and original with what he steals. Unfortunately writer and director Aaron Harvey took some interesting elements commonly found in Tarantino’s work but didn’t do much with it.
See if this sounds familiar: a group of characters, whose names are eventually introduced in big bright yellow letters, are at diner discussing day-to-day topics. They are not discussing if they should tip the waitress but they might as well be. Eventually the conversation is interrupted by an outburst of bloody violence, followed by many, many flashbacks explaining how they got in this jam in the first place.
The three characters in question are Tes (Malin Akerman), Kara (Nikki Reed), and Dawn (Deborah Ann Woll). They work in some capacity for Mel (Brue Willis), a sleazy drug kingpin with a penchant for eating peacans. Tes is the leader of the trio and dutifully accepts her next assignment, which consists of intercepting a transaction in the middle of nowhere in the dead of night. There are many details involved, but suffice to say a large bag of money is involved and the three armed women will do everything they have must to get their hands on it even if the whole thing reeks of a set up.
Also making his way towards the same diner is Ronny (Forest Whitaker), a deranged killer with a thick Spanish accent. Once he arrives at his destination you have the inevitable Mexican standoff, during which the characters, including a shotgun totting Shea Whigham, discuss their options. In fact the discussions eventually overstay their welcome. At one point one character does that thing when he counts down to when he will finally pull the trigger, but since nothing happens he actually asks if he should start counting down again. How about you just bite already instead of barking all day little doggie?
This is one of those films where I am guessing the actors had a lot of fun making the movie given they get to shoot guns, curse, say semi-clever dialogue, and get to work with some great fellow actors. Bruce Willis gets to stretch a bit by playing a weird tough guy with facial hair reminiscent of Billy Bob Thornton, and there is a humorous jab at his brief musical career.
The highlight of “Catch .44” is seeing beautiful women involved in a bloody shootout while great music is playing in the background. You just wish once the music stops playing they had more interesting things to say and do.
(“Catch .44” is available on DVD and Blu-Ray and is streaming on Netflix.)