Date Stamp: July 18, 2015
Studio: Warner Bros.
Reviewed by: Ed Coke
Apparently, the oldest profession in the world is pimpin’ and hoein’. I can’t claim to have done any research on the topic…aside from watching The Mack and Dolemite numerous times. While I’m sure it’s likely that back in the days of the caveman, tricks were turned for food and shelter, something tells me it wasn’t the only job on the block. There had to have been other types of hustlers during those early years of civilization as well. No doubt some troglodyte dude was pushing moonshine and cave weed, the prototype pyro teaching classes on making fire, and likely there was a progressive neanderthal giving fades with a flint and trimming unibrows.
Along with these old school occupations, the delicate art of thievery must have also been flourishing. For as long as there has been folks earning an honest living, there’s always been somebody looking to make a quick come-up off some unsuspecting, straight-edge mark. After watching the movie Focus starring the always versatile Will Smith and dime piece Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street; Suicide Squad), I became more confident about my “primal nature of the grifter” theory.
Focus, which is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, tells the age old story of an expert con-artist looking to make one last big score while trying to avoid getting caught up along the way. He takes on a sexy apprentice and helps her perfect her skills; giving her an inside look at the high-stakes world of professional pick-pockets and slight of hand specialists.
Overall, I quite enjoyed the picture. It was slick and glossy with a good soundtrack and a decent story. Will Smith regains some of his Mike Lowrey-esque swagger from the Bad Boys era, and Margot Robbie plays the prodigious ingenue to perfection. There were some holes in the plot and the ending was far from satisfying (or even believable), but I can still recommend it. Although it doesn’t come close to other classic con tales like The Sting or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, it does give some insight into an exciting and ever-thriving ancient industry. The combo pack I got to peep includes the Blu-ray, DVD and a digital HD Ultraviolet edition, along with some cool extras and alternate scenes. You get your money’s worth. Something that can’t be over-valued when you consider someone could be relieving you of your wallet even as you read this.