By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
Besides giving Hollywood Joel Kinnaman and Daniel Espinosa, Easy Money (Snabba Cash) has now spun off not one but two sequels, and that Hollywood remake starring Zac Efron because, of course, is still kicking around as well.
The Bogart of our times
Easy Money 2 picks up a bit after the last one leaves off. Somehow JW and Mrado end up in the same prison and become buddies (considering JW shot him at the end of the last one, that’s an interesting development to say the least). Jorge’s back in the drug-running business, and gets on the bad side of a mob boss… again, which leads to a contract on his life… again, but the twist this time is that it’s childhood buddy Mahmoud tracking him down, or he’ll be the one taking a bullet.
Easy Money was the movie that got Swedish director Daniel Espinosa some Hollywood attention (Safe House) and Easy Money 2 figures to be the springboard that Babak Najafi will use to do the same (he already has prison thriller Inside the Machine in the works). Najafi wisely copies Espinosa’s tight, roving camera style for this sequel, but adds some nice flourishes of his own (although not quite enough- we’ll get to that).
The acting is strong all around, and further demonstrates why Kinnaman is on the cusp of being The Next Big Thing (we’ll see if RoboCop gets him there, or if he gets Garrett Hedlunded).
Or Sam Worthingtoned
The rest of the performances are also strong, and hopefully these actors will get a similar boost to their careers as Kinnaman.
Plotwise, we have similar intersecting criminal antics to the first film, but the stakes have been raised for practically every character. Watching this directly after the first one would be a rush as you see the characters wallowing ever more deeply in the quicksand of crime. The underlying theme has shifted as well, from class differences to the plight of immigrants, particularly Arabs and Serbs but even South Americans, in Sweden. It doesn’t seem like their lot is any easier than anywhere else, and the message should resonate pretty much anywhere.
If you haven’t seen the original, don’t bother. Even if you have, but not recently, contextualizing all of the plotlines will be difficult at first, and like the first one, things take maddeningly long to cohere.
Najafi has some unique moments, but those are followed in equal measure by overplayed, hackneyed moments like a crime boss driving his point home with a game of Russian roulette. Even one of the best action sequences, a car crashing and flipping, shot from inside the car, has been done multiple times in recent years, decreasing its impact.
Enough of these damn blue filters already.
Prison make sad 🙁
I would heavily recommend you marathon Easy Money 1 & 2, and perhaps just wait until later in the year to watch 3 after it comes out. Taken as a whole, I have a feeling that this will be viewed as one of the better crime thriller series of the decade, but as a stand-alone entry it is lacking.
Take a Drink: whenever a character from the original shows up
Take a Drink: every time someone has familial trouble
Take a Drink: for every betrayal or double cross
Do a Shot: when Jorge still is able to get out of trouble once more.
This is the luckiest mofo around.