I don’t know when or why the hell Al Pacino decided to start speaking like he runs a plantation somewhere. But after seeing him ham through the so-called thriller Hangman, I’m here to tell you that Michael Corleone is once again on some southern-fried bullshit.
Pacino is a recently retired detective who gets brought back to the beat by his former partner (Karl Urban, all jaw) when a serial killer — with a love for the beloved children’s game — begins rubbing folks out and stringing them up. Also along for the ride is Brittany Snow’s investigative journalist — because, of course, these guys are gonna need to save a damsel in distress in the final act.
If the repetitive string of serial-killer movies that have popped up throughout the years (including those god-awful ones Pacino made with director Jon Avnet) never made you wish Seven didn’t happen, Hangman may be the one that finally brings you to that breaking point. Directed by actor-stuntman–straight-to-streaming auteur Johnny Martin (who recently gave us Nicolas Cage’s Vengeance: A Love Story), this movie jumps through ridiculous hoops, plot-wise, giving us yet another madman antagonist who hatches one overly elaborate murder after another. That’s all because — well, the killer’s motives are so dumb you may wish they were left unsaid.
Even with all its grisly, gory absurdity, Hangman actually tries to be a sincere salute to all the badge-wearing men and women who risk their lives on the regular to catch bad guys. But you may not take a single frame of this movie seriously, especially whenever Pacino is shuffling around, waving a gun and talking like he’s desperately in need of a mint julep.
Directed by Johnny Martin
Opens December 22
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 20, 2017