Action-packed crime thriller about a hit-man named Jack (John Cusack), who takes an assignment to deliver a mysterious bag to his crafty boss (Robert De Niro) with strict instructions not to look inside. With the help of an elusive, beautiful woman (Rebecca Da Costa), Jack battles a mess-load of gunfire, a slew of crocked cops and unruly mobsters on a deadly quest to deliver the precious cargo and earn a big pay day.
As of late John Cusack has chosen roles to challenge himself which has led him to star in pictures like The Frozen Ground, a dark, depressing and achingly bleak picture about murder and a bad man doing bad things. The Bag Man isn’t much different except for the fact that one of the bad things this man is doing is opening his mouth and letting himself talk.
The Bag Man follows Jack (John Cusack), a gangster sent to collect a package only to find himself double crossed and forced to lie low in a seedy motel while waiting for backup. While there he finds himself helping an unfortunate woman named Rivka (Rebecca De Costa) while causing havoc among the various criminal elements that surround the motel. However in the end it might be his boss Dragna (Robert De Niro) who could cause him the most problems.
While Frozen Ground features Cusack at his best giving a dirty and fearless performance his commitment to Jack wanes as the film goes on and loses its sense of reality, something you may argue it never had in the first place. De Niro pops in and out to give this tepid crime thriller star quality while wearing a wig so large you’d think he’d stepped right out of a blaxploitation movie of the 1970s.
The themes the film oh so subtly delves into are never fully developed or encouraged, in fact the film at its core is a simplistic tale of corruption, one that beats you over the head with overused story arcs and ridiculous characterization. Be it Dragna’s addiction to anything pop culture or Jack’s constant brooding there is little here under the surface besides an empty void where the films soul belongs.
The exception is De Costa’s Rebecca who has the smallest sliver of backstory, a sign of actual conscious thought being put into the films woeful script. She breathes a little life into the picture but it doesn’t do much as she finds herself stuck between Cusack and De Niro who are competing for the award of Best Moping, something Cusack wins by a hair's breadth.