Conclusion: 'Empire State' falls a little short of being a recommended movie, but with some solid performances and decent direction, it's certainly worth at least one viewing. The fact that it's a period piece and based on an actual event adds to the movie's appeal. It's not the kind of title you'd expect to find 'The Rock' in, but it's one of his better (albeit brief) performances. Give it a rent.
Conclusion: 'Red State' is a tense, creepy, but at times clunky and underdeveloped film. While the movie as a whole doesn't ever completely gel, Smith's foray into "horror" is neither a total disaster nor a rousing success –- but the uneven experience is always an entertaining and disturbing ride. Despite its low budget, the film actually features strong video and audio presentations.
Excerpt: Like its main character, Red State is both flawed and intensely watchable. Much has been made about Kevin Smith's change in genre for this film, but in Michael Parks’ Abin Cooper, he finds the ultimate blowhard; like Randal Graves and Brodie Bruce before him, the preacher speaks with a fiery and confident determination, using volume and tone of voice to pave over gaps in logic.
Excerpt: The final 30-minutes of action portrayed in Red State rank amongst the years best, not because of the gunfight itself, but its meaning. An anti-gay, doomsday-believing religious cult sits almost casually as they fire off rounds towards approaching ATF agents. Both sides are disturbingly trigger happy, and the fate of innocent children seems decided by all. Even victims, teenagers lured with the promise of a little sexual deviance, are stuck in the cross-fire.
Summary: Kevin Smith, provocateur ? No way, right? The sweet natured if motor-mouthed (despite being Silent Bob) Smith, writer-director of films no one could take exception to, films like Clerks or Chasing Amy or Dogma or. . .oh, crap, another brilliant thesis down the drain. Wait, wait!! Cop Out and Zack and Miri Make a Porno . Shoot (so to speak).
Excerpt: The film isn’t billed as Kevin Smith’s Red State. It’s just Red State , but Kevin Smith is an independent counterculture auteur diva so to speak. It’s pretty widely thought that Kevin Smith has a cool and honest and don’t-give-a-crap attitude. Kevin Smith is a brand, but he knows he’s not a mainstream big blockbuster brand. He is indie.
Excerpt: When Kevin Smith’s Red State debuted at Sundance, much of the deafening buzz around the screening centered on the writer-director’s attention-grabbing plan to bypass the studio system entirely by distributing the film himself. Smith is a master of self-promotion, but the audaciousness of his Red State business strategy couldn’t help but obscure the audaciousness of the film itself.
Excerpt: "This isn't funny any more!" one of the boys yells, over and over again, about twenty minutes into Kevin Smith's Red State . "This isn't funny any more!" He's talking about the events on screen, of course, which have seen a rather depressing online sex rendezvous turn into a drugged kidnapping.
Excerpt: "Red State" is a bit weird, but weird in a good way. It's a real genre bender. The films begins as your average teen horror, then reverts to action, before finishing off as a comedy - all with socio-political undertones! Just as you think you know where it's going to turn, it hits you with a different twist. Characters are chopped, changed and dropped like flies. The plot thickens more than the blood that is spilled. An interesting state to be in... whatever it may be!