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Genre: Crime, Drama
Country: Dominican Republic
Starring: Manny Perez, Denise Quinones, Juan Fernandez, Paul Calderon
Director: Josh Crook
Run time: 102 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
The Butcher’s Son gets a marginal recommendation from me thanks entirely to two things – the gritty realism of the violent Dominican Republic depicted in the film, and the seething, intense performance by the star, Manny Perez. Well, that and the female star of the movie, Denise Quinones, who is a pretty good Puerto Rican actress and Miss Universe 2001. Which is nice. I mean niiiiiiice.
Everything else in the film is uneven and at times cheesy. It’s poorly paced, there is a lot of non-sequitor violence that seems to come back around in the plot but is really unnecessary, and the Big Revelation made to Luisito (Perez) at the end should probably have been pretty obvious to him for…say…his whole life. Otherwise he’s a complete idiot. And he doesn’t SEEM like a complete idiot.
Luisito is the son of a butcher who was murdered (for no apparent reason) by gangbanging drug dealers who had been deported back to the Dominican Republic. As he grows into a man (this is all shown through flashbacks), he becomes a hit man for the corrupt Dominican government and a military general named Colon. He thinks he is killing the right people – drug dealers and murderers – and making his country a better place. But when he is ordered to let a bad guy go because the criminal payed off the general, he begins to become disillusioned. As you would.
Now, Luisito is trying desperately, through the objections of his cousin and the general, to quit the life and his job. (The moment where he actually DOES quit his job, in a very badass way, is the highlight of the film.) At the same time, he is trying to re-connect with his childhood sweetheart (Quinones) and start a relationship with her. The relationship between the two is strained and a little unbelievable, but all Quinones is good Quinones.
The movie boils down to an explosive confrontation, a violent action sequence, and a cheesy, feel-good finale that is as awkwardly charming as it is implausible. Most of the time, the movie is either too slow or too fast, a lot of it goes nowhere, but Perez is good enough, and broodingly intense enough, that he really held my attention even through the lulls. And there are a lot of lulls. Like I said off the top – a marginal recommendation.