`Harsh Times' is really rough to watch at times

review C+

November 10, 2006|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic

The movie begins with tender vows between an Afghan-war vet, Jim Davis (Christian Bale), and his Mexican betrothed, Marta (Tammy Trull). It ends in carnage on the street. But for most of its meandering running time Harsh Times is just a rough South Central L.A. buddy movie about a slacker named Mike (Freddy Rodriguez) and a psycho (Bale).

Rather than face up to the demands of adulthood, they retreat into the feckless, footloose ways of their youth. They don't foresee petty crimes becoming major. Add Davis' inability to shake his combat-honed, homicidal reflexes and you've got one of the most miasma-ridden examples yet of the human-ticking-bomb movie.

Harsh Times (MGM) Starring Christian Bale, Freddy Rodriguez, Eva Longoria. Directed by David Ayer. Rated R. Time 120 minutes.

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