The Enforcer

On the poster, you will see former action star Antonio Banderas (“The Mask of Zorro,” “Pain & Glory“) menacing looking, holding a gun with a vintage muscle car at the bottom. The trailer will show you flashes of violence, sex, drugs, and all the stereotypes of a modern-day Miami mob film. “The Enforcer” is the feature film debut of Richard Hughes, who directs with a 90’s television mindset. His inexperience is on display, and he seems unable to bolster the weak script creatively. The characters’ interactions are lifeless, overly scripted, and devoid of realistic qualities. The dialogue is so bad you can expect to see this flick showing up at interstate gas stations for $5 in record time. The most suspenseful element of “The Enforcer” isn’t found in the characters or the plot. It’s the unanswered question why Banderas would even both with this movie.  

The name Cuda (Banderas) means something in the criminal underworld of Miami. When he steps out of his vintage muscle car and points a gun at your head, there is no expectation of mercy. Recently released from prison, this enforcer seeks forgiveness from his estranged teenage daughter. Having squandered his chance as a father, he has a soft spot for troubled youth. Stray (Mojean) is a young street fighter, barely getting by on bloodying men twice his size. Recruited by crime boss Estelle (Bosworth), she pairs the suit-wearing classic Cuda with the slouchy novice. Stray falls in love with the first sex worker he meets, while Cuda befriends a teenager on the street, tangled up in the world of cybersex. Both men will risk their lives to create better ones for the misfortunate. 

Bosworth is a JCPenney villain, sitting behind a desk in a room she never leaves... with bad wigs and misunderstood shoulder pads.

American films haven’t been very kind to Banderas. Sure, he made a living in action films. Still, you only get a glimpse of his talent when he works in international cinema. This hollow character, which functions far more as an avatar moving the story forward than a fully realized performance, is a waste of the Oscar nominee’s charisma. It’s a cheap film that never tries to make the most of a limited budget. Bosworth is a JCPenney villain, sitting behind a desk in a room she never leaves (meaning she shot all her scenes in one week) with bad wigs and misunderstood shoulder pads. A star isn’t born with Mojean Aria, who is shirtless in nearly every scene. The casting director fails this film as much as any other department. 

“The Enforcer” struggles to maintain a reason for us to watch. The filmmaker’s remedy is violence every twenty minutes. The script isn’t interested in developing characters, only doubling down on stereotypes. It’s Miami, so neon lots are used in almost every scene versus trying to create a unique style or vision for the film. The cybersex plot device also feels as antiquated as the visual stylings of the film. Only Fans don’t exist in this version of Miami. Cyber-sex scenes, complete with dungeons where young girls are locked in neon prisons with webcams, are even more laughable. At the same time, drug-dealing rappers watch from a fancy smoke-filled pad from above. “The Enforcer” lacks cinematic creativity from every department. It’s a movie about meeting a quota rather than delivering actual entertainment. 

Final Thought

Bandera's talent is wasted on this no-thrills Miami mob movie.


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