For writer director Nicholas Maggio it must have been dream casting to get John Travolta, Stephen Dorff and Kevin Dillon in his debut feature, ‘Mob Land’ a Deep South film noir where Dorff especially raises the film a notch or two as a mafia hitman. But its starts with Travolta as the town sheriff Bodie Davis who is first seen out hunting deer yet it’s his town who have far more success shooting up drugs than he does shooting up the deer. It’s a town whose economy has nose-dived and collapsed due to the inhabitants hooked on oxycontin that Dorff’s mob bosses have bought in.
Death is on the doorstep everywhere. Travolta’s sheriff has had a cancer diagnosis, the addicted residents are one hit away from the grave and Death is personified by Stephen Dorff as Clayton Minor an amoral philosophising hitman under orders to find out who robbed and killed the local dealer and took the illicit money. And those responsible are Shelby (Shiloh Fernandez) a family man, mechanic and driver on the local racing circuit but having lost his job and not wanting his daughter to go without he gets dragged into a heist by his hapless brother in law Trey (Kevin Dillon). It’s Trey who assures Shelby that he’s just going to be the getaway driver but of course as this a film noir thriller the heist goes inevitably awry and Clayton’s gunning for them.
Mob Land is nothing new and leans heavily on other similar films most obviously ‘No Country for Old Men’ and it doesn’t help that Maggio gives a character the line, ‘“This whole place has become a f**king cliché.” But there a few diverting plot points and its Dorff who convinces most. Travolta is low key and blank faced in a manner not dissimilar to Brooklyn Beckham’s face when asked, ‘What do you do for a living?’ There are some amusing lines to leaven the story but overall Mob Land is largely derivative.
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Here’s the Mob Land trailer……