Pistol Whipped is a film the way Totino’s Pizza Rolls are calzones. There are recognizable shapes and textures, it seems vaguely familiar to something you’ve enjoyed before, but ultimately you’re left feeling empty inside. With Totino’s all you need to do is rip open another pack, but there is nothing to fill the void Pistol Whipped will leave in you.
This isn’t to say there isn’t a lot going on. In many ways, the story mirrors that of Ant Man: a man down on his luck has his vices exploited by a wealthy businessman, who promises a path to redemption and reconciliation with his estranged daughter. While it’s debatable whether Seagal is more charismatic than Rudd, the former definitely brings his signature “breathless charm” to the picture.
In a Lynchian twist, many of the locations are recycled, but change every time Seagal revisits. What is at first the service entrance to a hotel lobby is transformed to a 2-table casino and then a cubicled mafioso restaurant while its labyrinthine network of staircases always leads Seagal to the same exterior shot of an abandoned warehouse. What are we meant to read into this? Perhaps this whole movie is actually a dream Seagal’s character had after drinking himself unconscious. It would explain why none of this is properly fleshed out.
Pistol Whipped: badbadnotgood.
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