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Easy Money: Hard To Kill AKA Snabba Cash II (Blu-ray Review)

Easy-Money-Hard-To-KillIn 2010, Easy Money or Snabba Cash released and became a pretty solid success.  It got the attention of people for actor Joel Kinnaman, who had a terrific attention-getting performance of ‘JW’ in the first film.  JW was a college kid who was taxi driving/drug dealing his way through school while schmoozing rich kids to try and be accepting by doing their papers and homework.  The film was filled with suspense, some crazy intensity and plenty of doublecross.  It had some wonderfully realized characters and focused on 3 very different characters that you both loved and couldn’t trust the whole time.  It took some surprising turns and always kept you at attention.  So, it was with great pleasure to see what they did to continue this series as its now become a trilogy.  Today we check out the second installment, Easy Money: Hard To Kill or the much more fun to say title – Snabba Cash II.

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Film 

Three years after the heist/double cross gone wrong we find JW and Mrado now having becoming best friends in jail, Jorge still at the drug running business and Mahmoud now involved with a prostitution ring.  When JW is let out for early behavior and backstabbed by his friend he thought he’d be doing business with, he’s left hopeless.  Not wanting to return to jail, he and Mrado devise a plan to rip off Mrado’s old boss and make a break for it with millions.  This only inadvertently begins to intertwine all our principle characters as Jorge plans to rip off Mrado’s former employer as well when he loses a drug shipment.

This second installment in the Easy Money/Snabba Cash series feels very much like a bridge film.  Don’t worry, it’s very much a self contained story.  I couldn’t help but feel like this movie was building and setting its stage for something much larger to come.  The film and character’s motions felt like they were all a means to get to an end that will likely be the third film.  While it is very much a bridge or set up, the film does manage to create its own themes and arcs that complete themselves throughout the course of the film making it successful on its own terms.  The film also matches the suspense and intensity brought in the first film.  It does have small section where it kind of drags, but its right before a rather awesome finish.

A recurring theme that’s hit pretty hard in this sequel is family and acceptance.  All our principle characters from the original seem to be scorned by their families.  Each and every one of them has been turned away or burnt the final bridge.  They are all trying to explore and find a new family structure to replace what was once lost.  Its quite amusing to that those ancillary characters that do have a stable family are met with a grisly fate due to the dependence on one our main players.  And in a twisted turn of fate, once our characters do seem to find a surrogate family, things don’t pan our in their happiest most comforting moment.

Joel Kinnaman returns to the role that I believe got him the American attention that landed him to The Killing.  As everyone at Why So Blu knows, I’m a pretty big fan of the actor.  He’s now top billed with his name HUGE and before the opening credits.  While his movie career hasn’t been so hot at the box office, his performances are pretty damn good.  I really think he’s got what it takes to have some leading roles or be a big time secondary character in films.  Here we get to see him run the gamut of being once again hopeful to all out vengeful.  The script lends to its credibility and Kinnaman finishes it off with another terrific performance, further building on his JW character.

I’ve really enjoyed this series so far.  I’m excited to see what the conclusion brings here in May.  For this second installment they got every from the first film back and it felt like it didn’t skip a beat.  Hard To Kill brought that same sense of discomfort, suspense and intensity that shaped the first movie.  If anything, this one kind of ups the ante because you already have a report and are building even more of a bond with these characters as we further discover what makes them.  While it is a bridge film, it still manages to hold its own and be a finely engrossing watch.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2:35.1

Clarity/Detail:  Easy Money is definitely easy on the eyes.  While not the most on the nose obvious great picture, once you settle in you’ll notice how crazy sharp and highly detailed the movie is.  From details and crinkles on dollar bills to the super clear water in the ocean, it paints a lovely picture of this crime driven world.

Depth:  The depth is solid, but not spectacular.  A little flatter than most but is able give of a pretty nice 3 dimensional feel.

Black Levels:  Black levels are perfect, if it allows it.  This is a pretty well lit picture and when blacks do appear, it has a good palette as you can make out details on seatbelts and leather seat.

Color Reproduction:

Flesh Tones:  Flesh tones are consistent and solid.  Facial stubble, wrinkles, nicks and scratches all come in crystal clear.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing I could make out.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): Swedish 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Dubbed 5.1

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This is a loud and proud track.  Right from the start the track commands your attention and doesn’t let go.  Gun shots and crashes sound present and make you a part of them.

Low Frequency Extension:  The sub makes good use at man different and complimentary levels.  From the score, to a car crash to a shotgun blast, the subwoofer gets gives this film an extra edge.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Not a whole lot to speak of.  It did have its fun, but most of it was score and ambience.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue clean and crisp.  It was loud and very front heavy.

Extras 

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Trailer (HD, 1:53)

Summary 

The lack of extras is kinda disappointing, but the film itself is not.  Its got a pretty great video and audio presentation and is a fully loaded thriller at that.  If you enjoyed the first film, definitely continue the adventure.  At the right price, this film is definitely one to own.  I’m looking very forward to the final chapter of this trilogy and hopefully will be reviewing it for you on Why So Blu come may.  Plus I just love how saying “Snabba Cash” rolls off the tongue!


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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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