Dennis Hopper stars in this ridiculous crime yarn, playing a mob henchman who wants a little respect, even if it means turning against his bosses. Premiering on HBO (and later released direct to home video), the film is a dreary, uninspired entry in the long list of intentionally
"quirky" crime films financed in the wake of Quentin Tarantino's success.
Frankie (Dennis Hopper) is a low-level flunky for mobster Sal (Michael Madsen). Visiting the syndicate's X-rated studio, he deals with debt-ridden porno director Joey (Kiefer Sutherland), as well as recently drug-free actress Margaret (Daryl Hannah), of whom Frankie is fond. Despite Joey's
gambling debts to Sal, Frankie agrees to make a bet for him, but only if he's allowed to use Joey's facilities to make a (non-porn) movie starring Margaret. Frankie is late to the race track and misses placing the bet. When Joey's pick wins the race, Frankie has to borrow money from Sal to pay him
off. Graced with bad luck, Frankie agrees to make an even bigger, second bet for Joey, only to get a flat tire on the way to the track. When Sal learns of Joey's recent winnings, he puts out one of Joey's eyes, gets the unwilling Margaret high, and sexually abuses her in front of Frankie. Soon
afterward, Frankie finds Margaret back on drugs and turning tricks on the street.
Deciding to kill Sal, Frankie admits to Joey that he actually made the second bet and has $143,000 in winnings. Luring Sal to a secluded destination, Frankie causes him to fall into a makeshift grave; Frankie then finds the nerve to fatally shoot him. Afterward, Frankie begins directing his movie,
only to be shot by Sal's buddy, Vic (Dayton Callie); it's presumed that the shooting was fatal. A cleaned-up Margaret receives a package containing Frankie's leftover money. In a sudden twist, Vic pulls the wounded-but-still-alive Frankie from his car's trunk and dumps him off at the train station
to head for parts unknown.
Straining credibility at every possible turn and overflowing with arch, unbelievable performances, you can chalk this up as another in the long list of 1990s we're-so-cool crime movies in which murders are accompanied by cool old tunes, the lead drives a cool vintage convertible, and everyone has
affected, over-written dialogue. Still, the film is so bland and convoluted that one can't imagine what drew the actors to this project (outside of a paycheck, that is). Everyone involved seems to be on auto-pilot. Hopper is merely marking time, playing a character so slow-witted that you wonder
how he has survived for as long as he has; Madsen plays a hot-headed hood for the umpteenth time; and although Hannah looks appropriately haggard as the bottom-rung porno actress, you tend to forget if she's simply playing a wooden actress or actually is one. Director Peter Markle brings little
style to the film, with the only truly amusing moments centering around the troubled adult-film shoots. At one point, a character reflects on Frankie's harebrained scheme by proclaiming "This is fuckin' stupid." In the wake of this film's wasted opportunities, it's certain viewers will understand
exactly how he feels. (Violence, nudity, sexual situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Dennis Hopper stars in this ridiculous crime yarn, playing a mob henchman who wants a little respect, even if it means turning against his bosses. Premiering on HBO (and later released direct to home video), the film is a dreary, uninspired entry in the lo… (more)