THE MATADOR (Richard Shepard). 97 minutes. Opens Friday (January 20). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Playing against type is one way to resuscitate a sagging career, but it doesn't work for the former Mr. James Bond, Pierce Brosnan .
In The Matador , which he co-produced, he acts his bony ass off trying to exchange his debonair, classy persona for that of a grizzled, hard-drinking baddie.
He plays Julian, a globe-trotting assassin who bumps into Denver businessman Danny ( Greg Kinnear ) in a Mexican bar. Julian has no friends, and Danny, still mourning a dead child and trying to close a deal, is attracted to his unconventional lifestyle, especially after the two attend a bloody and terribly symbolic bullfight.
You've got to be a moron not to see where the script's heading, and writer/director Richard Shepard isn't nearly as good as the artists he's cribbing from, Quentin Tarantino and David Mamet.
His confusing direction - loud and bold one minute, bathetic the next - only points up the script's flaws. Kinnear plays yet another aw-shucks character with ease, but Brosnan, all bluster and obnoxious bravado, remains unconvincing. "Look at me, I'm a wreck, I'm a parody," he shouts at one point. Too true.