The Last Days of American Crime takes place in a fascist America. It showcases a dystopian world where the government has implemented a system designed to detect and eliminate crime, much like Minority Report, but without Steven Spielberg.
Poorly written and ineptly directed, the only thing notable about The Last Days of American Crime is that it made it this far in the film-making process.
1. Quick review
Based on a 2009 comic book by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini, the setup does hold some promise. In the not-so-distant future, some crooks plan to steal a billion dollars. Unfortunately, the U.S. introduces a nationwide, synapse-blocking radio wave that will “make it impossible for anyone to perform an act they know to be unlawful.”
Viewers know they’re headed for rough waters right away, as the opening scenes ladle on exposition with not one but two separate voice-overs. Alongside a completely inane flashback that has nothing to do with the main story, the plotline somehow manages to mire us in even further confusion.
Funny how The Last Days of American Crime arrives on Netflix smack in the middle of turmoil over the future of law enforcement. But does this grisly film have something to say about the world we live in, or is the provocative premise just a backdrop for mayhem?
2. Is it worth your time?
Four days after releasing, The Last Days of American Crime currently has a 0% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes, along with a 24% audience score. Overall, critics detest the inherent violence and the movie’s long running time of 149 minutes. Most of it feels unnecessary to the story. Many reviews also imply that the film favors meaningless acts of bravado over a coherent storyline.
The Last Days of American Crime itself don’t seem all that interested in its own premise. The plot could have been played with much more. Keep in mind that the film is set in the days leading up to the transmission of a mind-altering, crime-stopping radio wave.
The film does try to paint a dystopia — crime in the streets, naked women dancing on cars, and people trying to escape to Canada — but what it delivers is not only generic but also but muddled.
Netflix’s The Last Days of American Crime is a caper set in near-future America just outside the Canadian border. Bricke (played by Edgar Ramirez) has been recruited by Cash (played by Michael Pitt) and his lover Shelby (played by Anna Brewster) for a heist. Unfortunately for them, it is just as the American Peace Initiative (API) signal goes live.
The signal works as a brainwave meant to scramble the minds of people, inhibiting them from perpetrating crimes. Cash, however, sees it as a chance to rob a federal reserve. Shelby has a hidden agenda, and this leads to a wild finale filled with double-crosses, explosions, and a lot of plot conveniences. It all goes to see them in action, in what will presumably be the last crime in American history.
II. Music and visuals
The music directors of this film are French rock band The Liminanas and German film score composer David Menke. The soundtrack of the film includes songs like Catamaran by Allah-Las, Death Bed by Powfu, Wake Me Up by Donald Barret, Message To You Rudy by The Specials, and P.A.A.C. (Protect At All Cost) by Dumfoundead. The soundtrack is available to stream on Spotify, Google Play Music and YouTube.
The film has been directed by Olivier Megaton, a Frenchman who built his career on Transporter and Taken sequels. He has modeled this film to be just that, full of relentless, over-the-top action. He has duly loaded it up with car chases, sex scenes, and lots of grizzled men covered in blood, spit-screaming into the camera.
3. Final thoughts
A film about unrest being quelled by a tyrannical government and law enforcement officers may not play well in June 2020. When Netflix barely notified its viewers about its addition and chose to bury the film, it was assumed so because of the horrible timing.
But it doesn’t take a genius to realize that there was barely any political or cultural sensitivity at play. Netflix is probably burying this because it’s just plain embarrassing.
This film’s plot itself is thoroughly unimaginative. The premise and the skeleton of the plot seem vaguely interesting. However, none of its creators pay attention to detail. It has big, presumably expensive car chases, but the cars don’t do anything exciting.
Instead, the guys in the cars just fire endless machine-gun rounds at each other while screaming creative profanities. The heist, when it finally begins, offers little ingenuity or inventiveness. Instead, people just fire endless machine-gun rounds at each other while yelling.
The Last Days of American Crime offer nothing you haven’t seen any number of times before; it just offers a lot of it.