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Knife Fight [Import]

Price: CDN$ 16.41
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Political Drama That Wants To Be Shocking And Incendiary, But Plays It Way Too Safe June 7 2013
By K. Harris - Published on
Format: DVD
Part satire, part expose, part commentary, the political drama "Knife Fight" targets some pretty familiar topics. Unfortunately, it doesn't do so in a new or illuminating way. Saying that the American political process is corrupt AND unscrupulous is like preaching to the choir. Is there anyone left with the idealism necessary to make this thought even remotely controversial or incendiary? Just watching the smear campaigns, the Internet rumors, and the negative press during every election season, it seems pretty clear that it is a flawed system (perhaps even irreparably flawed). There is no civility, but a policy of doing whatever necessary to gain the upper hand. That said, there have been some brilliant films to address the subject that were both merciless and unforgettable. "Knife Fight," in the end, doesn't offer anything to the debate. It's pleasant, watchable, and has an attractive and likable cast and maybe that's enough for some. But it lacks teeth, surprise, and true controversy. Heck, I think 1949's "All The King's Men" is still more relevant and shocking than this piece!

Rob Lowe plays the power broker at the heart of the movie. A savvy political strategist, Lowe is the point person for several notable campaigns including a scandalized California senator (a solid David Harbour) and a philandering Kentucky governor (Erik McCormack). With the help of his faithful staff (including newbie Jamie Chung), they are doctors of spin turning negatives into positives whenever possible. And if not possible, just make the other guy look even worse! At its best, "Knife Fight" does showcase some amusing campaign ads. They are, to me, the most effective aspect of the film's screenplay. At worst, the film threatens to turn all warm and fuzzy with the idea of a qualified, but inexperienced, doctor (Carrie-Anne Moss) who wants to vie for the gubernatorial seat. This foray into idealism is both corny and unbelievable and contains a shocking turn of events that won't surprise anyone. It's all formulaic and predictable.

"Knife Fight," initially, doesn't even seem to know what kind of movie it wants to be and that is reflected in a confused narrative structure. It begins with a voice-over observation by Chung, indicating that we will be seeing things unspool from her perspective. It also uses graphics to identify major players and their titles giving the introduction a faux documentary feel. But neither of these devices is followed through with for very long so one wonders why they were used at all. Instead, it plays as light drama or light satire. I'm not even sure which! It is all rather mild mannered and tepid, but it thinks it is being provocative. Maybe I'm particularly jaded, but it takes quite a bit more to shock and/or appall me. Despite this, I didn't hate "Knife Fight." It's not a terrible movie, just not the meaningful one it intends to be. Lowe is good, Chung is appealing, and the cast is loaded with familiar faces. For "Knife Fight" to have been a success, it simply had to be smarter than it is and more committed to taking chances. Extremely lightweight, I won't remember anything about this in a few months. KGHarris, 6/13.
A political thriller. Jan. 3 2014
By Jon - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great actors and actresses. This is another must see.
I think the only thing more fun then watching it was making it.
Knife Fight Review Aug. 14 2013
By K Jackson - Published on
Verified Purchase
I thought it was a nice clean movie which showed (on a high level) life inside the political campaigning world. Liked the way it ended. Made you feel good.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
don't Aug. 1 2013
By william d simpson - Published on
Verified Purchase
looks like it ought to be better than it is. didactic, disjointed, can't decide on a story line, no sympathetic characters. problem is in writing and editing. okay directing, good acting, even a few good scenes.
on the whole this movie asks the question "why bother?" the answer is "don't". better to watch the preview and imagine the movie you would make.
better yet watch a couple of old "west wing" episodes.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
'Knife Fight' is no 'West Wing' May 3 2013
By FNDNreview - Published on
Format: DVD
If you look up Harold Lasswell's definition of politics, it will tell you that politics is defined by who gets what, when, and how. Granted, politics was a bit different back in the 1930s and 40s when Lasswell was doing his work - but the principal that he defined still stands true today. The word "politics" is and will (probably) forever be linked to corruption and greed - along with affairs, murder, and any other crime that has been committed by politicians over the years. The bad politicians that have abused their power and standing in the world over the course of human history have given nearly all politicians a bad name - yet not every politician is bad. Despite their personal struggles and shortcomings, men like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy are some of the United States' most adored individuals and considered to have been masters at the art of politicking - so occasionally politics can give people a bad rap simply by association. In the recently released political drama, Knife Fight - juggling politics and personal lives takes center stage, along with the maneuverability involved with executing a successful political campaign.

Knife Fight stars former West Wing actor Rob Lowe as he returns to the semi-fictitious political scene. Paul Turner (Lowe) is a successful campaign strategist running three campaigns at once and with the help of his assistant Kerstin (Jamie Chung), Turner must navigate a Kentucky governor, a California senator, and a doctor turned candidate through the nastiness that accompanies political campaigns. Spinning news cycles to his will, Turner uses his connections and political savvy to walk the fine line of fighting dirty to keep his candidates clean - or as he puts it: "bring a gun to a knife fight." Knife Fight features a star-studded supporting cast, including Carrie-Anne Moss, Julie Bowen, Richard Schiff, and Jennifer Morrison.

Since Lowe has returned to the role of a political strategist, it's only logical to compare this new role to his role on The West Wing - a role that arguably brought him to the height of his success and popularity. As in The West Wing, Lowe is smooth with his deliveries and plays an easily likeable character in a career that makes him question the morality of his actions. Rarely making a mistake, Lowe's character is methodical in his execution and is relentless - while occasionally overly smug with his political maneuvers. Obviously, Rob Lowe is already well-rounded on the inner workings of playing a character in politics - and does such an ambitious job at it that it's difficult to tell his Paul Turner/Sam Seaborn characters apart.

Lowe is clearly the only shining star in this low-budget, nearly TV-worthy film. While several characters play pivotal parts in the film, there is very little memorable acting to be found - mainly due to the poor writing, and being forced to hastily tell a complex story when it deserved more depth. However, the film's memorability comes in the form of a reunion that many of us have been patiently awaiting for far too long - so, for the West Wing fans out there, you're in for a MASSIVE treat. Knife Fight reunites Lowe with his former West Wing cast-mate, Richard Schiff. Lowe and Schiff share several screens together that will bring about a severe case of nostalgia. Their chemistry - stemming from their work on The West Wing - feels so incredibly natural in this film that it will almost feel like a waste, due largely in part to the already mentioned lackluster writing. Regardless, this film will leave you wanting to pop in one of those old West Wing seasons to relive the better times.

The bottom line: nobody will blame you if you completely skip this one. Only West Wing fans need not miss it.

Overall Film Grade: D

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