When it comes to low budget action movies, there’s always two things that can elevate the movie despite the lack of funding required to polish up the movie – and that’s raw talent, great acting, and unique memorable dialogue. Unfortunately this movie has neither, I don’t mind soldiering through rehashed plots and stereotypical criminal characters but the writers couldn’t decide if they wanted a main character. The lead character is obvious but lacks presence on camera in most scenes. However I am a big advocate of the under-marketed indie movies as the best cult crime classics in the late 80’s and 90’s were not blockbuster movies but made by seemingly unknown directors and casts of their era.
The movie reluctantly follows Bryce (played by Adam Beach from the movie Windtalkers), a tough career criminal who enjoys spending his time gambling. The character is introduced to us in a back room of a club playing high stakes Russian roulette (5 round roulette), well not really that high stakes as the gun is pointed at their hands and not their heads – basically it’s a game of chicken where the person either chickens out or gets shot and loses. Bryce is caught in the middle of betrayal from both sides of the law, as a simple heist leads to consequences for his band of “crooks”.
He scrambles around trying to find out why the job went South and who is behind setting them up but comes up against the Crime Kingpin pulling the strings in his town.
No spoilers but his motivation for going on this self-destructing inquest instead of just leaving town is not just pure curiosity or to remove the target on his back.
This movie is definitely a straight to DVD release or for public television. I believe I have seen worse action movies on South African television channels. It’s slow paced and more of a crime drama than an action movie.
The Bottom Line
Watching the characters in the movie you expect them to do something cliché and they do, dialogue is casual and run-of-the-mill small-talk; there’s no memorable characters, acting or dialogue. My issue with the movie is that it could have explored the characters more however the movie does not take us down deep into the rabbit hole of the criminal underworld, it meanders on the surface.
Based on his roles in movies like Windtalkers, Flags of our Fathers and Cowboys & Aliens, Adam Beach can act and has a good presence on scene but maybe his downfall is that he is just a good supporting actor and in this movie he does not bring any of that acting ability nor does he hold up on screen as the main anti-hero of this story. He apparently has a love interest but based on the way it is filmed and the dialogue itself, you would never know until the end. Bryce is also portrayed as going through a battle of inner turmoil and self-destruction but the lack of expression in his face never provides evidence of this as he remains expressionless throughout the entire movie. It seems as if it was a script by numbers without investing too much into the staging scenes, plot turns or even camera angles.
The title of the movie is arbitrary, the word CROOK means nothing in this movie besides adding some sensationalism to the cover of the DVD. After the plot turns in the movie, the rest of the film wonders off to a tepid and pointless ending.