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By Ally Sinyard · November 8, 2019
The silver screen has brought countless stories to life; some are unique, and some are a bit of a cliche. Some movies have gone on to become legends in cinema history, and others are just forgotten as time goes by. Horror, romance, comedy, action movies are produced for virtually every taste out there. Yet, movies based on actual life events are the ones that usually touch the deepest part of our being. Sometimes life outshines fiction, both in the good and the bad way, and this type of movie portrays that happy or grim reality to the audience. One such movie is the critically acclaimed "Middle Men," a movie partially based on the life events of Christopher Mallick, a man previously associated with internet billing companies Paycom and ePassporte. Today dear readers, let's delve deeper into the story in this film and see what fiction can tell us about reality.
Middle Men tells us the business history of Jack Harris, an everyday man who helps a sick friend manage a nightclub. The movie opens up in 2004 Houston; Jack leaves home with several million dollars in a duffel bag to pay Russian mobsters. As Jack goes to the meeting place, we can tell he is worried about his wife Diana and their children. We then flashback to 1997 in L.A, where Jack helps his friend with the nightclub. We meet Wayne and Buck, two best friends renting together. Both drug addicts, Buck and Wayne, watch pornographic movies when Wayne asks why there is no porn on the internet. Buck, a former NASA scientist, creates a program for allowing online credit card transactions to charge people to look at naked pictures online in just 15 minutes. The business quickly takes off, and they make thousands of dollars in a short amount of time. Soon, their content runs short, so they approach Nikita Sokoloff, a Russian mob boss who owns a local strip club; Sokoloff agrees to let them photograph and film his strippers in return for 25% of their business. Meanwhile, Jack has made the nightclub a considerable success. This attracts the attention of Jerry Haggerty, a crooked lawyer hired by Wayne and Buck to sort out their problem with Sokoloff, as the friends have neglected their payments to Sokoloff.
Jack meets the friends and quickly becomes a partner in their business. Jack pays 200.000$ to get out of the business, as he knows that Haggerty is under federal indictment and as such, a very real threat to the business. When Sokoloff's nephew comes to collect, he is killed by one of Jack's bodyguards after threatening his family. Making up a story to cover the murder up, Sokoloff agrees to let it pass for an increase to 50% partnership. Jack focuses on expanding the business by dropping their porn site and focusing on the online billing services. As millions being rolling in from business and slot machines Jack strange from his family and begins a relationship with a prostitute. Tensions run high as shadier deals are cut with child pornography dealers and Haggerty plans to take over the company by pitting Jack against Sokoloff.
Haggerty successfully manages to turn Sokoloff against Jack by using his ties to the FBI and his link to the murder of Sokoloff's nephew. Jack is contacted by the FBI, warning him that his website is to be indicted for supporting child pornography, and to top the complications in Jack's life, his maid's son is kidnapped by Sokoloff believing him to be Jack's son. As Jack gathers several millions dollars, we are taken back to the opening scenes of the film. Blackmailed into giving up his partnership share to Sokoloff, Jack outplays Sokoloff by backdating to before the deals of child pornography were made. Sokoloff kills Haggerty but lets Jack live on account of how much money he made him. Jack's friend in FBI charges Sokoloff, Wayne and Buck for providing billing services for child porn; meanwhile Jack returns home with the maid's son and is welcomed back into his family.
Based on the events lived by Christopher Mallick, Middle Men: Casino 2 does an amazing job of showing the dark realities of greed, fame, money and power, back when the online porn industry was just taking off. Betrayal, murder, debauchery and lack of morality are at the order of the day in a film that portrays the middle men's rise and fall in a business that doesn't forgive nor forget. With an engaging story and superb performances, Middle Men is a movie that won't disappoint.