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    6 Ways to Die (2015): Movie Review

    “A sensible revenge thriller with an ending that makes no sense.”  

    How does one die? What is the ultimate form of death? In 6 Ways to Die, writer-director Nadeem Soumah tells the story of a man killed in different ways before his breath is finally taken away.

    A mysterious John Doe (Vinnie Jones) holds a magnanimous grudge against Sonny “Sundown” Garcia (Michael Rene Walton), the most influential drug kingpin in the Northern Hemisphere. Both men grew up together in the slums of Juarez, but in order to join the Mexican cartel of cocaine baron El Jefe (Luis Fernandez-Gil), Sonny betrayed John, killed the lone woman he loved and framed her for her murder.

    After spending twenty years in prison, John resurfaces to seek vengeance against the man who destroyed his life. But death will not come easy as John wants Sonny to suffer. Hiring six skilled criminals, John gently strip away everything from Sonny – his fortune, his reputation, his honor, his wife, his freedom and his life. 

    6 Ways to Die is told in six short chapters, each corresponding to Sonny’s ordeals. After some time, viewers will see that all sections follow certain pattern: the criminal is introduced, John contacts them, he delivers their mission inside a Cadillac, he tells part of his history, and the criminal does the job, some successfully escape unscathed while others get busted. Chapters are also interconnected through certain plot holes to be filled in by the succeeding part.

    Employing Christopher Nolan’s 2002 Memento style, the film uses reverse chronology to an impressive and engaging effect. It opens with Sonny’s death in the club and moves one week earlier for each chapter. With each part running for 15-20 minutes, the movie is undeniably fast-paced, breathtaking and mesmerizing. Although loaded with too many plot twists, the film is easy to follow and understand.

    Despite its well-crafted structure and intelligent storytelling, certain parts in the narrative are improbable and unpersuasive. The segment on loyalty, represented with the job of stealing a necklace, is very lousy and unnecessary. It’s hard to believe that Sonny’s necklace is an essential part of his life. The movie also seems to overdo its slow-mo sequences. At some points, they work. But when there are excessive moments that appear to freeze and stretch forever, it deadens the excitement. Likewise, there are plenty of close-up gunshots which deprive audience with the actual shootouts.

    Actors speaking slowly is not helping, particularly Jones. Initially, it is quite suspenseful. But after repeating that for another five rounds, it is already annoying. While some appear too weak, other overplay their part like ‘90s character actors Tom Sizemore, Bai Ling and Dominique Swain. Topbilled Vivica A. Fox has strong presence but her short screen time near the end of the film feels hanging.

    Perhaps, the movie’s greatest flaw is its 1999’s Fight Club-inspired ending. After the six chapters, you feel like there is still one final twist but the one that comes is totally unexpected. Initial reaction would be an immense disbelief. When everything sinks in and you finally have a thorough analysis, you will realize that it does not make sense at all. There are other solutions which are simpler and do not take so much trouble. 

    6 Ways to Die has a clever way of storytelling but nothing much of substance to its story. It has straightforward message and action sequences. However, its ending is the biggest decision-maker. You will intensely love or hate the film after its mind-blowing conclusion.


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