Netflix Instant Theater: ‘Setup’

Welcome to this week’s installment of Netflix Instant Theater, which has us watching random straight-to-DVD films and/or forgotten classics that we otherwise wouldn’t know of if it weren’t for the magic of legal online movie streaming. As a disclaimer, I’m not trying to make this all about 50 Cent and his 10-picture deal through his production company, Cheetah Vision, but it’s just impossible not to talk about these movies.

Setup (2011)

Starring: Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Ryan Phillippe, Bruce Willis, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Randy Couture, James Remar, Rory Markham, Shaun Toub, Brett Granstaff

Directed by Mike Gunther (Beatdown, which stars Michael Bisping, and I did not know that existed)

Written by Mike Gunther and Mike Behrman

The Basic Plot Summary: Sonny (50 Cent) and his two best friends, Vincent (Phillippe) and Dave (Granstaff), put together the perfect plot to steal a small fortune’s worth of diamonds from a dealer, thanks to Vincent’s sister or girlfriend – I can’t remember – Mia (Dewan), who poses as his employee. But as they’re ready to celebrate their big score, Vincent surprises his friends by turning his gun on them and stealing the diamonds for himself. Except, he fails to kill Sonny, which turns out to be a big mistake.

The Only Three Things You Really Need To Know:

  1. This was supposed to be the first movie released under 50 Cent’s second film production company – his first one, G-Unit Films, tanked – but that ended up being the 2010 film Gun, which I also watched. Call it a morbid fascination by this point.
  2. Much like Fire With Fire, this film was directed by a former stuntman. 50 Cent seems to be the go-to guy for stuntmen looking to break into directing, so I think that’s pretty cool of him.
  3. 50 Cent and his film team have the most severe case of collective ADD when they’re writing their movies. That said, in lieu of walking through the preposterous plot points, I want to lay out how I imagine the creative brainstorming session for this movie went down…

50 Cent: Thank you for joining me, Michael and Michael, and thank you for having the same name.

Gunther: We’re very excited to write this movie for you, Mr. Cent. So tell us, what is this great idea that you had?

50 Cent: Okay, so I play Sonny, and I’m this super cool thief and I work with my best friends, Dave and Vincent like that MovieDrink dude, but even though we’re criminals, we’re good guys. Like, there’s honor in the way we work.

Gunther: All right, so this is a crime movie about lifelong friends who do what they have to do to get by.

50 Cent: Yeah, but we steal from the man and other bad guys, so it’s not like people watching want us to go to jail. Like, we have families that we need to support.

Behrman: I get it, so you’ve got a Robin Hood meets Heat vibe going. You’re not bad but you’re not good.

50 Cent: Yeah, so we wanna steal these diamonds for like one last big score, because Dave’s got a wife and kid and Vincent has his girlfriend or sister, and I’m gonna go do my thing, too.

Gunther: One last score to retire young and pretty. I love –

50 Cent: But check it out, Vincent decides that he wants the diamonds and the money, so he turns on Sonny and Dave, okay?

Gunther: Okay, so what’s his motivation? Is he working with someone else? Like a rival gang?

50 Cent: Naw, his dad is in prison and he sends him money to pay off the other inmates so they don’t kill him. We’ll set that up in the beginning and make people think, like, “What’s up with that old dude in prison?”

Behrman: I see. So Vincent just kills Dave and Sonny?

50 Cent: Dave, yeah. He caps Dave in the head. But he only shoots Sonny in the shoulder.

Gunther: Why doesn’t he shoot Sonny in the head, too?

50 Cent: Because Sonny has to hunt him down and get his money back.

Behrman: Yeah, but Vincent would know better than to shoot Sonny in the shoulder and let him lay there to bleed out.

50 Cent: Naw, Sonny doesn’t die.

Gunther: But it’s more realistic that he shoots both of them in the head.

50 Cent: Sonny doesn’t die.

Gunther: Maybe he –

50 Cent: Yo, SONNY DOESN’T DIE. Anyway, he gets better quick and it’s time for revenge.

Behrman: Suspended disbelief, fair enough.

50 Cent: So he goes to this real cool mobster type to make a deal to get some help against Vincent, but the mobster doesn’t trust Sonny so he sticks him with this really big white dude.

Gunther: Willis and Couture at their best, obviously.

50 Cent: But Sonny’s not afraid of nobody.

Gunther: Because he can’t die.

50 Cent: So they go and kill these Russian dudes first, so Bruce Willis knows Sonny’s for real. And then that white dude just wants to get really high, and Sonny’s down to get high so they stop at a dude’s place.

Behrman: Maybe it’s to numb the pain in his shoulder.

50 Cent: But then the white guy starts playing with Sonny’s boy’s gun and he blows his own head off and they need to get rid of the body, but Sonny knows people so they chop him up.

Gunther: *puts on headphones* Lucky guy.

50 Cent: So now Sonny’s in deep to Bruce Willis and he needs to get those diamonds back quick.

Behrman: Because they might shoot him in the shoulder.

50 Cent: Right? Oh, but check this out. Sonny’s not the only one looking for Vincent. There’s this hitman after him, too, for the diamonds. And he’s foreign.

Behrman: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

50 Cent: So the hitman kills Vincent’s sister or girlfriend or whatever, I forget. Like real brutal, too. And then Vincent finds her and he’s like, “No bro, you killed my sis!”

*by this point 50 Cent is calling random people in a phonebook to tell them the rest of the plot*

50 Cent: Sonny knows where Vincent is, but he wants to add his exclamation point and he goes to prison to tell Vincent’s dad, who we don’t know anything about, that he’s gonna kill Vincent. And he’s like, “That’s my son, I hate you!” all dramatic.

Automated Voice: The number you have reached is out of service, please hang up and try a different number.

50 Cent: And yo, Sonny catches Vincent and he’s like, “Yo don’t kill me, please!” and Sonny’s like… Haha, you gotta watch to catch the crazy twist I got in mind.

Gunther: Huh? Wha? Where am I?

50 Cent: So here’s your giant bag of money, writer dude. Let me know when I win the Oscars.