Death of the Critic

Why Did I Watch That? - 4 Got 10

Written by: Tom Blaich


I watched a bad movie today. It is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Watching bad movies that is. I revel in the terrible plots, paper-thin characters, cheesy effects, and wooden acting. It fuels me.
I love them in a way that I can’t quite describe, or feel about bad games or music. To me, bad films deserve to be recognized, talked about, and maybe occasionally ridiculed. This one is no exception.

Dolph Lundgren is a special guy. His performances as a large, vaguely foreign, man-shaped meat monster have shaped the face of terrible action cinema since he burst onto the scene with 1985’s A View to a Kill. Over the next 31 years, he has appeared in over 80 films, in roles large and small. We hated him as the robotic Ivan Drago in Rocky 4, loved him in 1989’s The Punisher. And in 4 Got 10, well, he exists.

The plot seems straight forward enough. A guy finds himself waking up in the aftermath of a violent drug deal gone wrong with no memory of what had happened or how he got there. He has a lot of money, and everyone wants it, from crooked cops to cartel creeps that are hot on his tail. The DEA, lead the man, the myth, the legend, Dolph Lundgren, doggedly pursues him as well, and he has no idea where to turn.

For most of the runtime, the movie is pretty standard, peppered with annoying and confusing flashbacks that really add nothing to the plot, and a sex scene between our hero and a woman he took hostage that conveniently might turn out to be his ally. But the last quarter of the film just tries to throw twists at you from every direction that just leave you befuddled.

The woman he has sex with isn’t the person that he thought she is. She isn’t his ally, her lower back tattoo is completely different. Our hero isn’t a bad drug dealer, he’s actually an undercover DEA agent. He’s friends with Dolph. But then he kills Dolph because he can’t remember that they are friends. But then the lady he had sex with who we thought was good, but then was bad, actually does turn out to be good, and he was supposed to save her. But Dolph turns out to be a bad guy that betrayed our hero.

It is just constant flashbacks for the last 15 minutes. They could have done something interesting with him killing his old boss and friend because his memory was messed up and then making him live with that choice. But they had to immediately show that Dolph was actually a bad guy so our hero can do no wrong. It gets so close to doing something right, and then just whiffs it at the last second.

I probably shouldn’t be surprised that a movie called 4 Got 10 doesn’t make the most sense. They never actually explain what the title means, and quite honestly I couldn’t care any less. It is a pretty cookie cutter action movie in a way that doesn’t do anything exceptional at all. It isn’t good, but it also isn’t bad. It exists as a movie, and somehow Danny Trejo playing a bereaved cartel boss with a machete couldn’t save it from mediocrity. Basically everyone dies except our hero, but I just didn’t care. After the anticlimactic, climactic battle that leaves everyone dead, I tried to muster an emotion other than apathy.

I couldn’t. So I wrote this.



Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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