Plot: John Gotti (John Travolta) would become one of the most infamous figures in the history of organized crime, but before he was the boss of all bosses, he was a street level mobster on the rise. As soon as he was a made man, he put in work and guided his crew to great success, always mindful of the mafia code. As the cash rolled in and his power expanded, Gotti did as he was told by his trusted advisors, but kept an eye on the future, when he planned to make a move. As family, crime rivals, and law enforcement demand constant balance, Gotti was never able to relax, but this is the story of how he became one of the most famous mafia men of all time.
Entertainment Value: This mob movie was a total bomb, but while it isn’t a good movie, it also isn’t an outlandish tour de force of bad cinema, like The Room or Manos: The Hand of Fate. The narrative does seem to have a crush on Gotti, which angles the entire movie like a love letter to organized crime personas, but there’s not much in terms of “so bad, it’s good” kind of moments. The pace is a little off, thanks in part to constant time jumps and some gaps in the narrative, but the main issue is that the movie is just too drawn out in some spots. I don’t mind when stories weave through various time periods, but it could have been done with clearer vision here, as it comes off as disjointed and stalls the movie at times. The main source of ridiculousness is John Travolta, who dials up his performance to superhuman levels of over the top, in a wild and ham handed effort. He really chews up the scenes and even mundane moments are given intense melodrama here, thanks to his outlandish performance. In the end, I wish Gotti was an outrageous, insanely over the top disasterpiece, but instead it is just a mediocre movie with a wild lead performance. But if you like mob movies or the idea of Travolta going off the deep end, give it a shot.
No nakedness. The movie is focused more on the violent side of organized crime, so sexual content is minimal here. There is some blood here, as the movie embraces the brutal violence of the mafia lifestyle, though most of it seems to be rather poorly crafted CGI visual effects. So we have shootouts, executions, hit squads, and other manner of gun driven violence, usually with splashy CGI bloodshed, as well as some minor other kinds of violence at times. I appreciate all the violence of course, but I wish the blood didn’t look like a cartoon here. The dialogue is typical mobster stuff and is mostly tough guy talk, just a more stilted than usual. But Travolta ramps up to madness at times and those lines are quite hilarious, regardless of what he is saying, just because his performance is so odd and over the top. As for craziness, this one isn’t as outlandish as some have claimed, but Travolta’s outrageous lead performance and some other misguided traits put a few points on the board.
Overall Insanity: 4/10