One genre development of the '90s is the clownish crime thriller. Combining ultra-violence and low comedy, action pictures-on-the-run like TRUE ROMANCE, DEADFALL and TROUBLE BOUND follow in the wake of the brutally funny RESERVOIR DOGS, without that shocker's exhilarating catharsis. They
raise the violence stakes until the only possible outcome is camp.
Perpetual loser Harry Talbot (Michael Madsen) celebrates prematurely when he wins $5,000 and a Lincoln Convertible in a rigged card game. What he doesn't realize is that the luxury car's trunk contains a dead man named Gordo (Vince Guastaferro). Cruising America's highways en route to more
gambling, Harry picks up manipulative college drop-out Kit (Patricia Arquette), whose hidden agenda includes a revenge scheme her gangland Grandma (Florence Stanley) and her dim-witted cousin Danny (Sal Jenco) are trying to quash. Teasing Harry with the lure of a high stakes card game, Kit
persuades him to drive her to an underworld casino so she can snuff out Santino (Seymour Cassel), her father's well-connected murderer.
Meanwhile, another gangster named Zand (Paul Ben-Victor) reveals to Harry's card shark cronies that the late Gordo possessed a key to a cash box containing a fortune. After finally discovering the corpse, Harry is nearly caught dumping the body in a junkyard by a yokel cop. Unaware that Zand and
company are on their trail, Kit opens fire at the gambling den and only manages to shoot Santino in the hand. Forced back to the junkyard by a volatile Zand and his lackeys, Harry and Kit are nearly killed in the crossfire when Santino and his boys show up. Captured, Kit is returned to her
business-minded Grandma, who's ordered by Santino to kill her own granddaughter to facilitate their mob merger. Unable to forget the gun-toting sociology major he loves, Harry goes to Grandma's house to rescue Kit. Later, at Gordo's establishment, both the vengeful Santino and a badly-wounded Zand
circumvent Harry's plans to open the cash box. Fortuitously, they kill each other off. Lovebirds Harry and Kit drive off to spend their windfall.
While TROUBLE BOUND can't be criticized for being enervated, its familiar pattern of car chases, revenge plot-reversals, screechy lovers' quarrels, choreographed gun battles and slapstick relief wears thin quickly. Aiming for tongue-in-cheek cleverness, this film is just another routine shaggy
dog tale about a small-time loser who scores big. If the resourceful Madsen manages to invest his schlemiel role with appeal, Arquette fails to hold up her end of the travel arrangements. She delivers a shrill interpretation of a neurotic character who's unconvincingly conceived in the first
place. Nor do the "Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" shenanigans complement the thriller aspect of this gangster roadkill adventure. Obviously, we're meant to view the massacres as laugh riots at the same time as we respond to the bullet-spraying on a more visceral level. There's something
dispiriting about mindless violence when it isn't filtered through a magnetic directorial style or redeemed by unusual screenwriting. Kept at a distance by this action flick's cloddish comedy, we're never involved in Harry's journey to self-discovery. TROUBLE BOUND is for inveterate road movie
junkies who can still get wired just from the juxtaposition of violence and comedy. Here, the heady brew lacks point-of-view and style. (Extensive violence, extensive profanity, nudity, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1993
- Rating: R
- Review: One genre development of the '90s is the clownish crime thriller. Combining ultra-violence and low comedy, action pictures-on-the-run like TRUE ROMANCE, DEADFALL and TROUBLE BOUND follow in the wake of the brutally funny RESERVOIR DOGS, without that shocke… (more)