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U Turn (1997)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  3 October 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 40,622 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 210 user | 109 critic | 20 from

A young punk drifter heading to Vegas to pay off his gambling debt before the Russian mafia kills him, is forced to stop in a Arizona town where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong for him.



(screenplay), (book)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Biker #1
Richard Rutowski ...
Biker #2
Aida Linares ...
Boy in Grocery Store
Sergi (as Ilia Volokh)
Valeriy Nikolaev ...
Mr. Arkady (as Valery Nikolaev)
Flo (as Julie Haggerty)


When Bobby's car breaks down in the desert while on the run from some of the bookies who have already taken two of his fingers, he becomes trapped in the nearby small town where the people are stranger than anyone he's encountered. After becoming involved with a (unbeknownst to him) young married woman, her husband hires Bobby to kill her. Later, she hires Bobby to kill the husband. Written by Jason Ihle <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Expect the unexpected. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

3 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stray Dogs  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,730,440 (USA) (3 October 1997)


£72,044 (UK) (24 April 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Towards the beginning, we briefly see a sign that reads "Rutowski for council." It's a reference to co-producer Richard Rutowski, who also briefly appears as "Biker #2" around that same moment. See more »


Near the first of the movie, where Cooper's car passes a vulture eviscerating a dead animal, the vulture clearly has a leg ring with an attached band that is being yanked. See more »


Bobby: What do you do?
Grace: A little of this, a little of that. Mostly I tell fortunes.
See more »


Referenced in Humraaz (2002) See more »


Piss Up a Rope
Written by Dean Ween (as Michael Melchiondo) and Gene Ween (as Aaron Freeman)
Performed by Ween
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

Probably not the best advertisement for Superior, AZ
5 February 2005 | by (Escondido, CA) – See all my reviews

This is one of my favorite Oliver Stone films. It has everything (cheating incestuous sex, chopping off digits, a dumb hick mechanic, a blind native American who wants Dr. Pepper all the time, etc etc etc) that a well-rounded movie needs, plus it was completely done in a comic fashion. It is closest to Stone's other film "Natural Born Killers" by way of stylish camera shots and the addition of comedy into a dramatic setting.

Sean Penn brilliantly plays the lead character, whose car blows a radiator hose out in the middle of the Arizona desert, and the closest town is that of Superior, AZ, a dirt-road town with barely 1,000 people living there, if that. Penn goes through hell from the beginning when random characters in the city want something from him and in return, it drives him to try his best to get the hell out of Superior. Everything during his days in Superior is centered around money and the fact that he has hardly any. So he gets schemed into murders, and he gets whatever little he has taken away from him (his train ticket gets ripped up by the local hoodlum, TNT, again brilliantly played by Joaquin Phoenix, and he has several full bottles of beverages broken for different reasons). Therefore, he's constantly running in circles to get out of this town.

There is an all-star cast (back then, and now) of actors: Jennifer Lopez (a better singer than actress), Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Billy Bob Thornton (the best among the bunch as the hick mechanic), Sean Penn, Claire Danes, Liv Tyler (only for a second in the train station), and Jon Voight...all packed into a nice DVD. The music had that comic, light-hearted side to it (with the country sound of a jew's-harp played over violin or whatever, etc) which helped you to see the irony that is driving him to madness in this town. Again the camera shots were awesome, and they had that Oliver Stone quality of the 90's where he would switch frames with the villain of the movie with an animal skull and switch the point-of-view to see what the actors are seeing, and so on.

I didn't like the ending so much. I kind of wanted things to resolve themselves, but instead, things just keep on falling into the bad-luck-category of his life. I also hated Jennifer Lopez's delivery of lines (just like in any other movie with her...The Cell, etc) because they feel so fake and put on that you know the director was just looking for T&A for the film. Also she doesn't play a native American very well. She has a thick accent straying too much towards Latino that you don't pick up on any cultural change until you get the story.

Overall, though, (bad point aside) it is a brilliant movie that is easy to watch if you like the other Stone films. I had to give it a 9/10 for great performances, great music, awesome story, and everything in between. Go out and buy it if your a fan of any of the actors listed above, or if you are trying to find a great weekend film with friends.

63 of 76 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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