Filmmaker Joe Carnahan has experienced the ups and downs of film criticism in his time. There’s a lot of love for his wilderness survival tale “The Grey,” solid cop drama “Narc,” and the fun of “Smokin’ Aces” while he produces “The Blacklist” which has been a stalwart TV performer for years now.
Yet some of his other efforts have been met with less enthusiasm from the ridiculous “The A-Team” to his script for the odious “Death Wish” remake. This weekend he produces “El Chicano” which is a Latinx spin on a superhero film and review have not been kind.
Penned and directed by Ben Hernandez Bray, the story follows LAPD detective Diego Hernandez assigned a career-making case investigating a vicious cartel. He uncovers links to his brother’s supposed suicide and a turf battle that’s about to swallow his neighborhood, and so resurrects the masked street legend El Chicano and sets off a bloody war to defend his city and avenge his brother’s murder.
Currently sitting at 25% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film has been slammed as dull and cliche with the lack of budget less a problem than the film’s basic fundamentals just not working.
Most filmmakers take it in stride, but not Carnahan who has gone on a Twitter rampage according to Indiewire. Carnahan slammed critics, specifically focusing on L.A. Times reviewer Carlos Aguilar who gave the film a mixed response which is one of the only three positive reviews on RT’s aggregate review site.
Carnahan tweeted to Aguilar he “sucks as a writer” and “this motherf–ker is proof the days of Pauline Kael, Roger Ebert and Andrew Sarris are dead. Mexico City ain’t East LA, home. Your review missed by miles. You should have had Justin Chang review [the film]. He’s from Orange County, gets it and is 10x the writer.”
The critic took it in stride, and Carnahan subsequently deleted the tweet whilst offering another attacking other critics for “rushing in to defend one of your own, like some tribal council” before slamming them for the “fear and loathing you live in because of your reluctance and/or inability to create yourselves”.
Carnahan has since deleted his Twitter account. Film critic Walter Chaw also commented on the events, Chaw revealing: “It was disappointing when he admitted to me that he was doing it to troll some attention for the movie and joked that punching down “reduced the drag”. It just all sounds like someone in pain, to me. Hope he has a safe weekend.”
“El Chicano” is now in cinemas.