Deep undercover in a brutal criminal organization, FBI agent
Kevin Cole (Cole Hauser) must use extreme methods to prove
himself. Ordered by the mysterious crime boss Ziggy to track
down stolen millions, Cole gets to work on the mob's accountant
(Laurence Fishburne). But as he starts turning the screws,
the mind games begin. Now who's controlling who? Enter the
ruthless world of organized crime, where you're only as good
as your last lie.
Lest you think Tortured is one more in the line of
torture-porn flicks such as Saw or Hostel, let me reassure
you that it is not.
Not to say, that there aren’t any scenes of physical
torture. Indeed, there are, and they are of one mob accountant
Archie Green. Laurence Fishburne plays Archie Green, and it
may at first seem puzzling why The Matrix’s Morpheus
would lower himself to play the victim in a low-budget B-grade
actioner. But don’t worry, after having his fingernails
and toenails plucked out, and salt poured over his wounds,
Archie Green will at the end have his comeuppance.
More than the physical torture is the mental torture exerted
on FBI agent Kevin Cole (played by Cole Hauser). Doggedly
going undercover in a brutal criminal organisation headed
by a certain Ziggy, Kevin Cole is assigned the task of torturing
Archie Green to retrieve Ziggy’s stolen US$10 million.
His conscience is quite literally tortured, as he has to resist
Archie’s pleas of innocence and mercy for him to return
to his wife and daughter.
It is not easy being an undercover agent, as the movie Infernal
Affairs would have taught you by now. And Kevin Cole is another
such example, his relationship with long-time girlfriend Becky
(Emmanuelle Chriqui) strained to breaking point by the secrets
of his job.
Yes, Tortured actually does have some interesting ideas. It
explores not just the pain of the person being tortured, but
also the agony of the torturer, his conscience wracked from
his inhumane deeds. Pity however that writer Nolan Lebovitz
is a better writer than director, so the impact of his ideas
is somewhat lost through the sluggish pacing of the film.
He has however surprisingly managed to assemble quite the
ensemble cast. The underrated Cole Hauser puts in a nice performance
as Kevin Cole, and Laurence Fishburne is as always a powerful
actor (especially in the final act). Rounding it up is Academy-Award
winner James Cromwell, who plays Kevin’s father, himself
entwined with the history of Ziggy’s operations.
There is of course a certain degree of implausibility in the
story, especially when we are supposed to believe that Kevin
can so easily switch between his double lives. Nevertheless,
Tortured is more than watchable for a direct to DVD movie,
aided in no small measure by its talented cast. Hey, at least
it’s not a torture sitting through it.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
standard making of documentary with the director and the cast
of the movie that is only fairly interesting.
quality is good. Though the English and Thai language tracks
are available in Dolby 5.1, there isn’t much in the
movie itself to make it a particularly enjoyable audio experience.
by Gabriel Chong