Control stars Ray Liotta as a convicted murderer who escapes the death penalty by agreeing to participate in a special recovery program that involves experimental drugs design to change human behavior. Willem Dafoe stars as the scientist in charge of the program. As you might expect, things don’t quite go as planned.
This movie begins with Liotta’s execution where he yells, “F--- YOU!” to the warden and everyone else. Those were meant to be his last words. The injection is given, and out he goes. In the next scene, he wakes up on a lab table with Willem Dafoe standing above him. It is then explained that he can either agree to participate in the experiment or be killed for real. Liotta agrees, and the therapy begins with drugs and some psychiatric evaluations.
At first, Liotta is mad as hell and screams his way through every attempt at trying to work with him. He gives a foretelling explanation for why he killed a man in prison because he was defending himself against a mob hit. He explains that as soon as the mob guys know he is still alive, they will come after him, and they sure do. Eventually, as Liotta shows progress, he is set up in a small apartment and even lands a job. A handful of guys then follow him around wherever he goes, and he has to wear an ankle bracelet with a tracker. While he tries to start his life over, his past comes creeping up on him.
I had a few major problems with this story and they kind of spoiled the movie for me. For starters, why would they release a convicted killer into an area so close to his victims? It would have made more sense to take him to the other side of the country or someplace farther than a quick train ride away. Oversights like that are what make this already over the top movie seem too silly and far fetched. In fact, the expedience with which this killer gets out is just too much. I could not suspend disbelief for one second with this one.
This does at least have some action that involves a lot of brief encounters where random people show up and start shooting at Liotta’s character. There is a good foot chase scene and some fighting, but the obvious low budget of this one keeps it from ever really taking off. While the action does help keep things interesting, it also makes the movie less believable. Ray Liotta and Willem Dafoe do at least give strong performances, and Michelle Rodriguez has a supporting role as the love interest. She smiles a lot in this one, which is different for her.
In the end, Control was kind of interesting but not that well thought out. I had too many issues with the story and think it could have been made a lot more realistic without the need for a tacked-on romance or the random shoot-outs. If it weren’t for all the profanity, I would have thought this was a made-for-TV movie.
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