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Jesse Page is an ex-convict whom wants to go straight, but has problems with his former cell mate Larry whom wants Jesse's help with his friends for a drug deal. But when the deal goes sour and the thugs whom try to rip them off end up getting killed, Jesse and the others are forced to flee. Jesse and Larry hide out in an dilapidated motel in the California desert where Jesse decides on a change by going to Detroit to join a band he played at. But with Larry tagging along, brings up more complications, as well as the eccentric motel owner Edsel and his crazed ex-stripper wife Hester, while the drug dealers slowly begin to close in on all of them. Written by
Craig Hamann's friend and former co-worker at Video Archives, Roger Avary, acted as a "producer-in-name-only" on the film. He had no creative input or involvement; his name was only attached to help his friend get meetings with potential financiers. Later, the distributors used his name to advertise the film as coming from "the Academy Award winning writer of Pulp Fiction (1994)", thus tricking consumers into thinking the movie was 1) from Quentin Tarantino and 2) actually written by the writer of Pulp Fiction. Both Craig Hamann and Roger Avary were displeased about this. See more »
Jesse is starting a new leaf. Fresh from prison and a lifestyle of drugs and crime, Jesse is drifting and searching for any meaning of existence for the straight and narrow life, anything to cling to even if it is meager in order to put his past behind him. Unfortunately for him, the bonds of loyalty, friendship and morals just won't let him. This driving force is the basic premise that ties the lives of several people during a decisive 24-hour period in Craig Hamann's excellent and well-executed character study.
PLOT Within a few months of his release, Jesse (Mark Dacascos) travels to L.A. to hook up a visit with his old cellmate and friend Larry (Jaimz Woolvett). Larry, simply, doesn't really have his life together, but his addiction tells him otherwise. It doesn't take long before Jesse realizes the potential of being in a bad situation as he meets the rest of Larry's crew and makes it clear to his friend that this is only a visit and will be on his way. Larry takes advantage of their friendship that night by setting up a drug deal with some young yuppie kids and having Jesse, while on a natural high from getting an offer to play drums in a band (Joan Jett as JERK), to back him and his pals up during the tradeoff. The deal goes bad and Jesse ends up killing the yuppies in self-defense when he discovers the whole deal is a setup. Everyone is soon on the run, as the yuppies happen to have older brothers who run a real underground organization. From here on out Jesse and Larry take to the road where they run into some extremely eccentric characters and the truth behind their own lives and motivations.
While the framework of this story works well to lead to a violent, tense and well-executed solution, the real core of the story is with the dramatic elements of the characters. Writer and Director Craig Hamann successfully manages to pull off intricate and interesting characters within a very bleak and dirty foray of drug use rather than resorting to one dimensional cardboard characters. Acting wise, the real winner here is Mark Dacascos, who manages to prove that he has more behind his expressive eyes than just a violent action hero machine ala Van Damme or Steve Segall. Dacascos is a truly talented actor that is usually wasted within the horrible straight to video action genre. A role such as this is truly a showcase of his talents. Everyone else does an excellent job as well with standouts by Jaimz Woolvett as Larry, Traci Lords as a drug addicted Scream Queen, Joan Jett doing what she does best screaming into the mike with an attitude and a star turning performance by Frederic Forrest (Chef from Apocalypse Now) as a very strange loner with his own secrets to hide. In fact the performances and written characters played by Forrest and his "wife" Emily Lloyd (turning in a very sexy yet bizarre act) have enough depth to carry off their own whole feature.
For all you homophobes, yes, there is a homosexual subtext to the film between Jesse and Larry but it is only implied not shown and if you find that offensive then most likely you would be happier watching a brain-dead action film. In fact the subtext, while daring, is an excellent voice behind the two characters as one desperately tries to hold onto the past while the other seeks for some sort of normal existence. There is an honesty here within the characters that will leave you thinking well after the movie ends.
Overall, within the frames of the violence, action, road film attitude, eccentric characters, drug use and other aspects of the film, is a witty and realistic study of human nature. It counts. It is dramatic. Powerful
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